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Meet Vineta Türkmen – Regulatory Compliance Manager

In this month’s edition of Employee Insights, we sit down for an in-depth interview with Vineta Türkmen, Regulatory Compliance Manager at Lion Gaming. Vineta hold a pivotal role at Lion Gaming, ensuring that the company remains compliant and up-to-date on evolving regulations in the iGaming industry. In the interview, Vineta explores some of the industry’s most important changes in 2024, misconceptions about regulatory compliance, compliance as it relates to cryptocurrency, and much more. We’re grateful for Vineta’s expertise and applaud the terrific work she does here at Lion Gaming each day. Let’s dive into the interview.

Can you provide an overview of your role as the Regulatory Compliance Manager at Lion Gaming? What are your main responsibilities and priorities?

    As the Regulatory Compliance Manager at Lion Gaming, my role is pivotal in ensuring the company adheres to all relevant gaming regulations and maintains a high standard of compliance across all operations. I’ve outlined my main responsibilities and priorities below:

    • I serve as the main point of contact with gaming authorities, ensuring that all communications and requirements are effectively managed and addressed.
    • A key aspect of my role involves investigating and monitoring gaming regulations and practices worldwide. This includes understanding the nuances of different regulatory environments, whether they involve monopoly systems, local licensing, “grey areas,” or even jurisdictions with no regulations. My task is to provide thorough risk assessments to guide our strategic decisions.
    • I investigate local regulations to prepare and file for the necessary gaming licenses. This involves drafting and compiling all relevant documentation, guiding our staff through the compliance requirements, and supervising the implementation of these requirements to ensure full compliance.

    I also supervise and monitor the company’s compliance with regulations and licensing requirements. This includes:

    • Keeping all compliance-related documents up to date.
    • Ensuring that all required reports are submitted to the gaming authorities, excluding those related to finance and anti-money laundering.
    • Performing due diligence on third parties such as white-label partners and game providers. I also support our staff in due diligence matters requested by third parties, which can include corporate bank accounts, game providers, and corporate service providers.
    • Conducting internal audits to identify and address potential compliance issues.

    A significant part of my role also involved providing comprehensive staff training on compliance matters to ensure that everyone is aware of and adheres to the required standards. Additionally, I offer day-to-day support on various compliance-related issues, including customer support and payment processes.

    You always let the company know about developments in the regulatory landscape, it seems like everyday there is a new message from you advising the company about regulatory development. How do you stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving regulatory landscape in the industry?

      I consistently monitor updates and announcements from key regulatory bodies and authorities in various jurisdictions. This includes subscribing to their newsletters, following their official websites, and participating in webinars and public consultations they may hold. I also subscribe to several industry-specific news sources, magazines, and journals that provide timely updates on regulatory changes, trends, and best practices. Publications such as Gambling Compliance, iGaming Business, and Gaming Intelligence are particularly valuable.

      I’m also an active member of professional networks and associations in the gaming industry, such as the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF), and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) helps me stay informed. These organizations provide a platform for sharing information and discussing regulatory issues with peers.

      Attending industry conferences, seminars, and workshops is another key strategy. Events like ICE London, SiGMA Europe, and regional regulatory summits offer insights into upcoming regulatory changes and allow for direct engagement with regulators and other industry professionals.

      In addition,  utilize regulatory update services and tools that track and summarize changes in legislation and regulatory requirements across different jurisdictions. Services like VIXIO Regulatory Intelligence, and LexisNexis provide automated alerts and detailed analyses of regulatory changes. Also, comprehensive manual work is involved, and such sites as ICLG, EGBA provide detailed information.

      Continuous education and training is also important for me professionally. I regularly participate in courses and certifications related to gaming compliance and regulatory affairs to ensure that my knowledge is current and comprehensive.

      I also find collaboration across teams important to staying up-to-date. Regular meetings and discussions with our legal, AML & Payments, and Customer Support & RG teams help in cross-verifying information and ensuring a comprehensive understanding of regulatory changes. This collaboration also aids in developing strategies to address new requirements.

      Lastly, I have set up custom alerts on search engines and professional platforms to receive notifications about any new developments related to gaming regulations. Automated tools and software help streamline the monitoring process, ensuring that no critical update is missed.

      By employing these strategies, I can promptly send a message to Lion Gaming in our Slack channels about any regulatory developments. This proactive approach helps mitigate risks and helps the company remain a responsible and compliant entity in the gaming industry.

      Everyone is talking about the changes to the Curacao licensing regime. What is the most important development that operators should know about the changes coming to the way that Curacao regulates iGaming?

        The most important development that operators should know about regarding the changes to the Curaçao licensing regime is the introduction of a new, more stringent regulatory framework aimed at enhancing oversight and compliance within the iGaming industry. One of the most significant changes is the creation of the Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA), which will replace the existing system of master license holders. Under the new regime, the CGA will issue licenses directly to operators, eliminating the current practice where master license holders grant sub-licenses. This shift aims to centralize regulatory oversight and improve transparency.

        Operators will face stricter compliance requirements including stronger anti-money laundering measures, implementation of more robust responsible gambling policies to protect players, and mandatory regular audits and detailed reporting to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory standards. Operators should also anticipate higher licensing fees and compliance costs due to the more rigorous regulatory environment. These fees will support the enhanced regulatory infrastructure and oversight capabilities of the CGA.

        There was a transition period for current license holders to comply with the new regulations. Existing operators were required to reapply for their licenses under the new framework, ensuring they meet the updated requirements.

        The changes are expected to be implemented gradually, with specific timelines provided for different aspects of the new regime. The overhaul of the Curaçao licensing regime represents a significant shift towards a more regulated and reputable iGaming environment. Operators need to prepare for stricter compliance requirements, higher costs, and a new regulatory authority that will directly oversee their operations. Staying informed and proactive in adapting to these changes will be crucial for maintaining their licenses and continuing to operate in Curaçao.

        For the latest updates, operators should regularly check announcements from the Curaçao Gaming Authority and consult with legal and compliance experts to ensure they meet all new regulatory requirements.

        There have been a ton of regulatory updates across the industry in various jurisdictions in the past year outside of Curacao as well. What do you think the most significant development has been in any jurisdiction across the world?

          It’s true that the iGaming industry has seen numerous significant regulatory updates across various jurisdictions in the past year or so. Among these, the most notable developments include the implementation of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in the European Union, the introduction of Maltese Bill 55, new gaming regulations in Canada, and the legalization and regulation of iGaming in Brazil, etc. Here’s an overview of these key regulatory changes:

          Digital Services Act (DSA) – European Union

          The Digital Services Act (DSA) introduces a comprehensive regulatory framework for online platforms, including iGaming operators. Key aspects include:

          • Increased accountability: Platforms are required to take greater responsibility for illegal content and activities, including enhanced monitoring and reporting obligations.
          • Transparency requirements: Operators must provide clear information on how they use data, especially for targeted advertising and algorithmic decision-making.
          • Stronger consumer protections: Measures to ensure safer online environments, such as improved age verification and robust mechanisms for user complaints and disputes.
          • Data protection: Reinforcement of data protection standards, building on the GDPR framework to ensure user data is handled securely and transparently.

          The DSA’s implementation marks a significant shift towards greater transparency, accountability, and consumer protection across the EU. For iGaming operators, this means stricter compliance requirements but also the potential for increased trust and legitimacy in the eyes of consumers.

          Maltese Bill 55 

          The country’s gambling industry makes up 10 % of its economy. In June 2023, Malta amended a law allowing gambling companies to disregard foreign court rulings, known as Bill 55. Key provisions of the law include:

          • Bill 55 offers protection to Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)-licensed operators from liability arising from their gaming activities, provided they comply with Maltese regulations. This protection aims to shield operators from legal actions that could otherwise result from their authorized gaming operations.
          • To benefit from liability protection, operators must strictly adhere to MGA regulations.This includes maintaining high standards of integrity, transparency, and responsible gaming practices.
          • The bill ensures that operators who meet the compliance criteria can operate with greater legal and operational certainty. It reinforces the importance of adhering to regulatory frameworks to gain protection from liability.
          • Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, has announced that the European Commission will examine the compatibility of Bill 55 with EU law. This review will determine if the bill aligns with broader EU regulations and legal principles governing online gaming and digital services.

          The impact of Bill 55 is significant. I’ve summarized what I believe to be the biggest impacts below:

          • Bill 55 provides MGA-licensed operators with increased legal certainty, allowing them to conduct their business activities without the constant fear of legal repercussions, as long as they remain compliant with Maltese regulations.
          • By protecting operators from certain liabilities, the bill aims to create a more stable and secure operational environment.This stability can foster growth and encourage innovation within the iGaming industry in Malta.
          • While already a reputable jurisdiction, the liability protection offered by Bill 55 can enhance the reputation of MGA-licensed operators. This protection can attract more players and business partners, who are likely to value the assurance of operating within a well-regulated and reliable jurisdiction.
          • Reduced liability risks allow operators to concentrate more on improving their services and expanding their offerings, rather than being preoccupied with potential legal challenges.
          • If the bill is found compatible with EU law, it could serve as a model for other EU member states, balancing operator protection with strict regulatory oversight.
          • The implementation and examination of Bill 55 may influence regulatory standards across the EU. It encourages other jurisdictions to consider similar protections for compliant operators while ensuring robust consumer protection and market integrity.

          I would say that Bill 55 is a landmark legislative development in Malta’s iGaming regulatory framework, offering significant liability protection to compliant MGA-licensed operators. The European Commission’s review of its compatibility with EU law will be critical in shaping its future impact and potential as a regulatory model. This bill highlights Malta’s ongoing commitment to maintaining its status as a premier iGaming hub while navigating the complexities of European regulatory standards.

          Canada – Ontario’s Expanded Regulations

          While it was over a year ago, I think it’s important to mention here. Ontario has introduced expanded regulations for iGaming, covering a wider range of activities including online casinos and sports betting. Key elements include:

          • A clear and structured system for issuing licenses, ensuring that only compliant and reputable operators can offer services.
          • New taxation policies and revenue-sharing frameworks designed to benefit both the province and operators.
          • Stricter measures for player safety and responsible gambling, including mandatory self-exclusion and stringent advertising regulations.

          Ontario’s new regulations have created a more competitive and well-regulated market, attracting a diverse range of operators. The focus on player safety and responsible gambling helps to ensure a sustainable and fair gaming environment.

          Brazil – Legalization and Regulation of iGaming

          Brazil has passed comprehensive legislation to legalize and regulate iGaming, including sports betting, online casinos, and poker. Key components include:

          • Establishment of a dedicated regulatory body to oversee licensing, compliance, and enforcement.
          • Clear guidelines on the taxation of gaming revenues, with funds allocated to public services and infrastructure.
          • Measures to ensure player safety, including age verification, self-exclusion programs, and advertising restrictions.

          Brazil’s legalization and regulation of iGaming is poised to create one of the largest gaming markets globally. The new regulatory framework is expected to attract significant investment from international operators, boosting the local economy and generating substantial tax revenues.

          While all these developments are transformative for their respective jurisdictions, in  my opinion the most significant overall is the implementation of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in the European Union. The DSA’s broad scope, encompassing enhanced transparency, accountability, and consumer protection, sets a new standard for online platforms, including iGaming operators. This regulatory shift not only impacts the European market but also serves as a potential model for other jurisdictions aiming to enhance their digital regulatory frameworks. The DSA represents a major step towards creating a safer, more transparent, and accountable online environment, making it the most significant regulatory development of 2024.

          In your experience, what are some common misconceptions about regulatory compliance in the online gambling industry?

            There are several misconceptions about regulatory compliance that I see in the industry:

            One common misconception is that regulations across different jurisdictions are uniform. In reality, regulations can vary significantly from one country to another, and sometimes even within regions of the same country. This can make compliance complex and challenging for online gambling operators.

            I’ve also seen that some people underestimate the costs associated with regulatory compliance. This includes not only the direct costs of obtaining licenses and meeting regulatory requirements but also the indirect costs of implementing compliance processes, conducting audits, and maintaining regulatory standards.

            Thinking that regulatory compliance is static is also a grave misconception. Compliance in the online gambling industry is not a one-time task. Regulations can evolve over time due to changes in legislation, shifts in public opinion, or advancements in technology. Operators need to continuously monitor and adapt their compliance strategies to stay abreast of regulatory changes.

            It’s mostly newer operators that fall victim to this, but it’s important to know that not all gambling licenses hold the same weight or credibility. Some jurisdictions have stricter regulatory frameworks and higher standards for operators than others. Holding a license from a less reputable jurisdiction may not provide the same level of trust and confidence among players and business partners.

            There is also an overlooked aspect of compliance. While legal compliance is crucial, regulatory compliance in online gambling extends beyond just legal requirements. It also involves aspects such as responsible gambling measures, data protection, anti-money laundering (AML) procedures, and ensuring fair gaming practices.

            Understanding and navigating regulatory compliance in the online gambling industry requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond mere adherence to legal requirements. It involves a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape, a commitment to ethical business practices, and a dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of players.

            What would you say to an online casino or sportsbook operator that claims they don’t need a licence if they only want to accept cryptocurrency?

              Here are a few points I would highlight to a potential operator who thinks that way:

              • Operating an online casino or sportsbook, regardless of whether it accepts traditional currency or cryptocurrencies, typically falls under regulatory oversight in most jurisdictions. Many countries have specific laws and regulations governing online gambling activities, and operating without a license can lead to legal consequences.
              • Obtaining a gambling license demonstrates compliance with regulatory standards and helps establish trust with players and business partners. Even if a casino or sportsbook only accepts cryptocurrency, it may still be required to obtain a license in the jurisdiction where it operates or where its customers are located.
              • Licensing authorities often impose requirements related to player protection, responsible gambling, and anti-money laundering measures. These regulations aim to safeguard players and prevent issues such as addiction, fraud, and money laundering. Operating without a license could compromise these important aspects of consumer protection.
              • Operating without a license can tarnish the reputation of an online gambling business, including a crypto casino. Players may be wary of engaging with unlicensed operators due to concerns about fairness, security, and accountability. Holding a reputable gambling license can help enhance the credibility and reputation of the operator in the eyes of players and industry stakeholders.
              • Operating without a license exposes the operator to the risk of enforcement actions by regulatory authorities. This could include fines, penalties, legal proceedings, and even the shutdown of the business. Compliance with licensing requirements helps mitigate these risks and ensures the long-term viability of the operation.

              While cryptocurrencies offer certain benefits to online gambling operators, they do not exempt them from regulatory requirements. Obtaining a gambling license is essential for legal compliance, player protection, and maintaining a positive reputation in the industry.

              Can you share some insights into the regulatory challenges Lion Gaming faces in different regions or jurisdictions?

                Certainly! Lion Gaming, like any platform provider, faces a variety of regulatory challenges depending on the regions or jurisdictions in which it operates. Here are some insights into some of the regulatory challenges we face in different jurisdictions:

                • European Union: Within the European Union, online gambling is regulated differently in each member state. While some countries have liberalized their gambling markets and allow licensed operators to offer services, others have strict regulations or state-run monopolies. Lion Gaming needs to comply with the diverse regulatory frameworks of EU countries, including requirements related to licensing, taxation, and consumer protection.
                • Asia-Pacific: Regulations regarding online gambling in the Asia-Pacific region can vary widely. Some countries, such as the Philippines and Australia, have established regulatory frameworks for online gambling, while others, such as China and Singapore, have strict prohibitions. Lion Gaming needs to carefully assess the legal landscape and potential market opportunities in each country while navigating cultural sensitivities and regulatory challenges.
                • Latin America: Latin American countries are increasingly regulating online gambling, but the regulatory landscape is still evolving. Lion Gaming needs to stay informed about changes in legislation, obtain licenses where required, and address challenges such as language barriers and varying attitudes towards gambling.
                • Emerging Markets: In emerging markets, online gambling regulations may be less developed or less strictly enforced. While this presents opportunities for expansion, it also comes with risks related to regulatory uncertainty, political instability, and potential legal challenges. Lion Gaming needs to conduct thorough due diligence and risk assessments before entering these markets.

                Overall, Lion Gaming adopts a proactive approach to regulatory compliance, staying informed about regulatory developments, obtaining the necessary licenses, and implementing robust compliance measures to mitigate risks and ensure sustainable growth in different regions or jurisdictions.

                Lion Gaming has a responsibility to ensure compliance with appropriate regulatory laws surrounding iGaming. How does Lion Gaming share that responsibility with clients that leverage our software?

                  Lion Gaming shares the responsibility for regulatory compliance with clients that leverage its software through several key measures:

                  • Education and training: We provide clients with educational resources and training programs to help them understand their regulatory obligations and how to use the software in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. This can include information about responsible gambling practices, data protection requirements, and anti-money laundering measures.
                  • Compliance tools and features: We integrate compliance tools and features into its software to assist clients in meeting regulatory requirements. This might include features for age verification, player self-exclusion, limits on deposits and wagers, and reporting capabilities to track and monitor player activity for compliance purposes.
                  • Consultation and support: Lion Gaming offers consultation and support services to clients to help them navigate regulatory challenges and implement best practices for compliance. This might involve providing guidance on obtaining licenses, conducting regulatory audits, and addressing specific compliance issues as they arise.
                  • Regular updates and maintenance: Lion Gaming  regularly updates and maintains our software to ensure ongoing compliance with changing regulatory requirements. This includes staying informed about regulatory developments, implementing necessary changes to the software, and communicating updates to clients in a timely manner.
                  • Collaboration and transparency: We ensure a collaborative relationship with clients based on transparency and open communication regarding regulatory compliance. This involves sharing information about regulatory changes, discussing compliance strategies, and working together to address any compliance challenges or concerns.

                  By taking these proactive steps to share the responsibility for regulatory compliance with clients, we ensure that our software is used in a compliant manner, thereby protecting both clients and their end-users while promoting a safe and responsible online gambling environment.

                  In your opinion, what are some emerging trends or developments in regulatory compliance within the online gambling industry? How is Lion Gaming preparing for or responding to these trends?

                    Several emerging trends and developments in regulatory compliance within the online gambling industry include:

                    • Stricter regulation and enforcement: Regulatory authorities worldwide are increasingly tightening regulations and enforcement measures to enhance consumer protection, prevent money laundering, and combat problem gambling. This trend includes more stringent requirements for obtaining and maintaining gambling licenses, as well as increased scrutiny of operator activities.
                    • Focus on responsible gambling: There’s a growing emphasis on promoting responsible gambling practices and mitigating the risks of gambling-related harm. Regulators are imposing stricter requirements on operators to implement measures such as self-exclusion programs, responsible gaming tools, and mandatory player education initiatives.
                    • Enhanced AML measures: Regulators are placing greater emphasis on AML compliance within the online gambling industry to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing activities. This includes requirements for robust customer due diligence procedures, enhanced transaction monitoring, and reporting suspicious activities to regulatory authorities.
                    • Digital identity verification: With the increasing prevalence of online gambling, regulators are focusing on implementing robust digital identity verification processes to ensure the integrity of player registrations and prevent underage gambling. This trend involves the adoption of advanced technologies such as biometric verification, digital document authentication, and KYC procedures.
                    • Cross-Border cooperation and information sharing: Regulatory authorities are increasingly collaborating across borders to address challenges related to cross-border gambling activities, including jurisdictional issues, regulatory arbitrage, and the enforcement of regulatory standards. This trend involves greater cooperation among regulators, law enforcement agencies, and industry stakeholders to combat illegal gambling activities and promote regulatory convergence.
                    • Emergence of crypto regulations: With the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies in the online gambling industry, regulators are beginning to develop specific regulations governing the use of digital currencies for gambling purposes. This trend involves addressing concerns related to money laundering, fraud, and the volatility of cryptocurrency markets while balancing the potential benefits of blockchain technology for enhancing transparency and security.

                    In response to these emerging trends and developments, Lion Gaming is preparing by:

                    • Staying informed about evolving regulatory requirements and industry best practices through ongoing monitoring of regulatory developments and participation in industry forums and associations.
                    • Investing in technology and infrastructure to enhance compliance capabilities, such as implementing robust AML and responsible gambling measures, enhancing digital identity verification processes, and ensuring data security and privacy.
                    • Collaborating with regulatory authorities, legal experts, and industry partners to navigate regulatory challenges, share knowledge and best practices, and advocate for responsible and sustainable regulatory frameworks.
                    • Providing clients with comprehensive compliance solutions and support services to help them navigate regulatory requirements, mitigate risks, and maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
                    • Continuously reviewing and updating internal policies, procedures, and controls to ensure alignment with regulatory requirements and industry standards, and fostering a culture of compliance and ethical business conduct throughout the organization.

                    Finally, what advice would you give to other online casino and sportsbook software providers striving to maintain regulatory compliance in a rapidly changing regulatory landscape?

                      Here are some key pieces of advice I would give:

                      • Stay informed: Keep abreast of regulatory developments and changes in the legal landscape affecting the online gambling industry. This includes monitoring regulatory updates, legislative changes, and court rulings in key jurisdictions.
                      • Prioritize compliance: Make regulatory compliance a top priority within your organization. Allocate sufficient resources, both financial and human, to ensure that compliance measures are robust, effective, and up to date.
                      • Invest in technology: Leverage technology to enhance compliance capabilities and streamline regulatory processes. This might include implementing advanced age and identity verification systems, enhancing AML and KYC procedures, and integrating compliance features into your software platform.
                      • Build partnerships: Collaborate with regulatory authorities, legal experts, and industry associations to gain insights into regulatory requirements, share best practices, and advocate for responsible regulatory frameworks. Building strong relationships with regulators and industry stakeholders can help navigate regulatory challenges more effectively.
                      • Provide training and support: Offer training programs and support services to help your clients understand their regulatory obligations and use your software in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. This might include educational resources, compliance tools, and consultation services tailored to the needs of your clients.
                      • Promote responsible gambling: Encourage responsible gambling practices among your clients and their customers. Implement features and tools to support responsible gambling, such as self-exclusion programs, deposit limits, and educational resources on gambling addiction.
                      • Adapt and innovate: Be flexible and adaptable in responding to regulatory changes and evolving market trends. Continuously innovate your software platform to address emerging compliance challenges and meet the evolving needs of your clients and their customers.
                      • Foster a culture of compliance: Instill a culture of compliance and ethical conduct throughout your organization. Emphasize the importance of compliance among your employees, partners, and stakeholders, and ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in maintaining regulatory compliance.

                      By following these principles and best practices, you can navigate the complexities of the regulatory landscape more effectively and position yourself for long-term success in the dynamic and rapidly evolving online gambling industry.

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                          Our address
                          Lion Gaming Group Inc.
                          855 2 St SW #3500
                          Calgary, AB
                          T2P 4K1 Canada
                          Our address
                          Lion Gaming Group Inc.
                          855 2 St SW #3500
                          Calgary, AB
                          T2P 4K1 Canada
                          Our address
                          Lion Gaming Group Inc.
                          855 2 St SW #3500
                          Calgary, AB
                          T2P 4K1 Canada