Ibero-American Gaming Summit Highlights and Recommendations


Gaming representatives from Portugal and 10 countries in Latin America met at the Ibero-American Gaming Summit (IAGS) in Panama City, Panama, recently to discuss, among other things, how to create a unified gaming market. Here’s a recap of the summits actions:

Ibero-American Gaming Summit attendees during a seminar in May
Ibero-American Gaming Summit attendees during a seminar in May. The annual event will continue to help the global gaming market mature. (Image: El Recreativo)

With the motto “A future of opportunities,” the summit served as a mechanism to publicize the gaming industry’s challenges in recovering from COVID-19. It was also an opportunity to explore future challenges.

Several themes emerged during the 2-day gathering, including a focus on improved banking, the rise of online gambling and sports betting since the beginning of the COVID pandemic and a focus on responsible gaming.

Improved Banking

Much discussion of the banking and financial sectors occured during the session. Several representatives suggested that the jurisdictions that have not yet issued regulations for online gambling should do so as long as the banking sector agrees with them.

Summit participants are currently putting together an action plan to educate the banks about the scope of the industry’s processes and protocols and will maintain open communication with them going forward. IAGS participants recommend using diplomatic channels for communications between the regional gaming regulators.

They also agreed that opening dialogue with the banking sector is necessary to help it overcome the existing stigmatization of the gaming industry. In many locations, partly because of misleading PR campaigns by gambling prohibitionists, games of chance present drawbacks in state and private banks.

The IAGS, sponsored by Cirsa, Entain, and other gaming operators, revealed that gaming regulators believe the problem starts with banks’ interactions with operators. Many are unwilling to authorize opening bank accounts for gaming companies, forcing some to seek alternative methods of handling financial transactions. This resistance is partly what caused Bermuda’s casino plans to at least temporarily implode.

Post-Pandemic Rise of Gaming

The regulators also explored the rise in online casinos and sports betting. Since before 2020, this segment constituted the natural future of the evolutionary process of the gaming industry; however, after the COVID-19 pandemic, online games expanded rapidly in the present and immediate future of the gaming sector.

The IAGS recommends that correct control allow the jurisdictions to offer confidence to the public and the banking entities.

They clarified that in none of the experiences of the individual markets that have regulated online gambling has there been a decrease in retail gaming and betting revenue.

Responsible Gambling

The IAGS members also explored responsible gambling. Adequate regulation of games of chance and online betting and an attractive content library constitutes the barrier jurisdictions require to stop illegal gambling.

Gaming regulators also called for stricter regulations to combat illegal gambling. A memorandum of understanding created during the summit to unify that goal has the support of all participants – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, and Portugal.

There was general conversation and agreement that all countries should include compulsive gambling prevention actions in their state policies to highlight responsible gambling. The regulators maintain that this state policy can include gaming jurisdictions and an inter-institutional coordinated effort.

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