ACGCS: our compliance training is flexible, rigorous and comprehensive

compliance concept
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Remaining compliant with regulations is arguably the most important aspect of running a successful gaming business. Whether a land-based casino or igaming platform, it is simply essential to be in lockstep with the local regulations to ensure long-term success. 

Therefore, it is imperative that those who lead and work at casinos and regulatory bodies are equipped with the tools to excel from a gaming compliance perspective. 

The Association of Certified Gaming Compliance Specialists (ACCGS) has been endeavoring to increase the amount of compliance expertise in the gaming industry since forming in 2022. 

The association runs over 70 modules for casino professionals to enroll on via its flagship Certified Gaming Compliance Specialist (CGCS). The CGCS is a 35 hour online self-study course delivered through a fully responsive online learning management system, acgcs.online, which allows individuals to study on any device, anytime, and anywhere. 

The association also runs a 12 week instructor-led, or six month self-study, online microcredential version of the course, Casino Gaming Investigations, via its academic partner, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. Ian Messenger, Founder and CEO at ACGCS, told SBC Americas that the flagship CGCS is a ‘comprehensive’ tool: “The CGCS has been built as a one stop shop training course for those new to the industry, those who have worked in casino compliance for many years, as well as those who are looking to transition into casino gaming from other sectors. The certification begins by building knowledge and skills in leadership and ethics before moving onto compliance topics, such as anti money laundering, fraud, and regulatory  compliance. 

“What sets the CGCS apart from other certifications is that we also focus specifically on casino gaming topics, such as odds manipulation, sports betting, and responsible gaming, as well as human trafficking in the industry” 

The association caters to a whole plethora of industry professionals who want to improve their development by taking on additional certifications. Messenger stresses that the courses are available to those who are new to the industry, or those in senior executive positions who can access leadership modules. 

Underpinning the ACGCS’ work is an overriding sense of agility and flexibility in the content, delivery and cost of the courses. On one hand, the work that the association does with those in the early stages of their career comes with little administrative costs as it seeks to improve access to educational tools. 

Meanwhile, the association’s work with more senior professionals and regulatory bodies opens up the opportunities to work with academic institutions like Dalhousie University, which delivers bespoke training to individuals and organizations based on the CGCS curriculum.

Messenger explained: “We charge no recurring fees, we charge no recertification fees, and there are no ongoing membership fees. We took this decision intentionally to reduce the barrier to entry for our certification and to enable as many as possible to upskill in this field.” 

“As a result of this, we’ve seen a large influx of students who potentially wouldn’t have been able to take casino compliance training otherwise.” 

That sense of agility seeps through all of the association’s activities, including the content that is delivered on its courses. The firm regularly consults with an advisory board of experienced industry executives who help to ensure the content is relevant, academically rigorous and up to date with industry ongoings. 

Messenger outlined: “Last fall, we received a number of enquiries related to responsible gaming and problem gambling. So, we launched a webinar series, and we had a series of four webinars specifically led by industry experts in responsible gaming. This ultimately led  to the creation of a Responsible Gaming and Player Protection course which launched this  spring and is also available as a microcredential from Dalhousie University. 

“We have 73 modules in our certification; we started in 2022 with 37. What is unique about our programme is that as we continue to add and develop our content and we make those updates available to individuals who have taken our courses in the past through our online  

learning platform, acgcs.online. This way, we enable continuous learning and development  long after becoming a Certified Gaming Compliance Specialist.” 

An essential part of any qualification is the academic integrity and rigor that gives a sense of prestige and makes it useful in the workplace. As such, the ACGCS is committed to ensuring that the certification is a rigorous endeavor for students, but ultimately, Messenger states the main barrier to entry to more education is cost not difficulty. 

Messenger, who has spent over a decade in academia, explained: “We built a learning management system that has integrity controls, and we have our exam that has built in proctoring. We spent a great deal of time developing our content to be engaging and  interesting – content that our students found worthy of their time and investment. This was very, very important to us to ensure that our certification was meaningful.” 

One of ACGCS’ biggest differentiators is its Dalhousie University partnership, which refines the certification’s 73 modules into 12 themes, with instructor-led delivery from tutors. Even this, though, has flexibility, as the association recognises that everyone learns at a different pace. 

“We find that our audience is very diverse when it comes to how they want to learn” Messenger remarked. “Some individuals want to compress their learning into a very short period of time. Others need to take longer.” 

ACGCS will continue to add more to its comprehensive academic offering as the global gaming regulatory compliance sector continues to evolve. Messenger has hinted that the association could launch a post graduate certificate and even an MBA in compliance in the future. 

Geographic expansion is also in Messenger’s mind, as the Association looks towards Europe as a key jurisdiction to take its offerings. Whatever the regulatory landscape looks like, academia and research is likely to play a key role in this and, as such, ACGCS is talking to plenty of institutions to increase its footprint and serve industry professionals. 

Messenger concluded: “We’re continuing to reflect on feedback from our students and one thing we keep hearing time and again is ‘what’s next’? 

“So we’ll continue to innovate, and continue to work with our university partners, to create  innovative and relevant training opportunities for the industry.”