Legal Operations Are Beneficial for All Parties Involved: Jakub Kolomičenko, Head of Legal Department at Endorphina Ltd
What are the advantages of legal gambling activity? Why should gambling operators thoroughly examine the market before obtaining licenses in new jurisdictions? These issues are revealed by Jakub Kolomičenko, the Head of Legal Department at Endorphina, in an interview with Ukrainian Gaming Week 2020.
Jakub is an expert in IP rights and gambling, specializing on licensing and regulation of the gambling business. He is heading the legal department at Endorphina Ltd – a developer of online casino software.
The interview highlights the importance of gambling regulations and consequences of illegal operations.
Interviewer: Ukrainian Gaming Week (UGW)
Respondent: Jakub Kolomičenko (J. K.)
UGW: What legal limitations could arise for game and software developers that are entering new markets? What should be taken into account?
J. K.: One of the first questions that the software developer needs to ask is what market they wish to target.
There are various markets that are more or less regulated. These regulated markets usually require a license or certification. Sometimes it’s easy to comply with these requirements but other times the certification or licensing process can be very complicated.
UGW: What legislative norms can be considered favorable for the development of gambling business? What countries have the best regulation?
J. K.: It would be nice to have a unified market with a unified legislation. But as for now, this is just a dream. In today’s reality, we must always follow the developing requirements of each jurisdiction.
Who has the best legislation? That’s a tough question and rather than jumping to a subjective conclusion, I will take advantage of the most “lawyer-ish” answer and say, “It depends.”
UGW: What advantages are there for the gambling business operating legally and not in the shadows?
J. K.: Legal operations are beneficial for all parties involved. Players are protected and can be sure that they’ll receive their money if they hit the jackpot. The State, as the regulator, benefits from tax collection and the operators can pay attention to their business without constant fear that their bank accounts will be frozen and websites blacklisted. It’s a win-win-win for everyone. However, this situation begins only with a reasonable legislation and a communicative regulator.
UGW: What European counties ensure the responsible gaming compliance policies? Why is this important for the industry?
J. K.: Nowadays almost each European country has its own gambling regulation, part of what is called ‘responsible gaming policy’. Why is this important? The gambling industry is an easy target and we must convince politics that it is worth the regulation of gambling.
Having a complete ban on gambling only leads to a bigger black market and it is necessary to have a discussion about a fair and reasonable regulation to achieve the win-win-win situation, which I’ve already mentioned above.
As for the industry, we must act responsibly to not harm our reputation and to prove to the wider public that gambling, if performed well, is just a form of entertainment.
UGW: What competent authorities issue responsible gaming compliance certificates and how to acquire such documents?
J. K.: Rather than issuing responsible compliance certificates, authorities are usually issuing gambling licenses. Almost each European country is introducing their local gambling regulation. With such a regulation and licensing process, there are also requirements regarding responsible gambling.
Operators who wish to acquire a license to operate in a specific market are regulated – for example, in the matter of advertising, targeting customers or how the games should behave. The regulation really differs from market to market.
UGW: What norms shall be implemented by the gambling venues to acquire the certificate?
J. K.: It is a complex regulation that is different in each jurisdiction. Operators should therefore perform their fair share of research before applying for a license in a new jurisdiction. The fact that the operator is compliant with legislation in Malta doesn’t mean that they will be automatically compliant in the UK or Sweden.
UGW: Are these compliance certificates obligatory for the gambling operators? What consequences could they face if they ignore the rules?
J. K.: Compliance certificates are usually part of the gambling license, which is obligatory when the operator wants to operate in a specific jurisdiction. Illegal operations without the license could cause various issues for the operator, starting with the blacklisting of the operator’s websites, payment blocking, suppliers blocking, penalties, and in some case even criminal investigation.
UGW: What will you talk about at UGW 2020 and who could benefit from the information?
J. K.: I will be talking about the latest trends when it comes to responsible gaming in 2020-2021 and the European customer protection experience.
Since there is a new gaming regulation in Ukraine, I would like to share our experiences and the struggles we face on a daily basis in other regulated markets. I believe it will be a great opening argument for the day full of interesting panels and speeches.
Jakub Kolomičenko will speak at Ukrainian Gaming Week 2020 on June 16. Guests will be able to listen to the expert’s presentation and ask him questions.