BMM was present at the Caribbean Gaming Show and Summit as a moderator and speaker. Richard Williamson, BMM SVP Regulatory Education, talked to Yogonet.com about the firm’s participation. “BMM continues to grow in every region and in its support of the industry through its attendance and participation at gaming conferences,” he said.
How would you describe your experience at the Caribbean Gaming Show & Summit? BMM Testlabs has been supportive of the Caribbean Gaming show for several years now and this year was very exciting since it returned to San Juan. The new convention center was a terrific venue for the CGS event. The rooms where the sessions where held and the exhibition room were very convenient as well as the host hotel.
You played two roles: moderator and speaker. What can you tell us about Alan Pedley’s conference presentation? Alan Pedley is a pioneer in the internet regulating space. Alan presented some very interesting perspectives for approaching the internet gaming industry segment from the regulator’s perspective based on his experience in the Northern Territory and subsequent consulting engagements. Regulation of the internet gaming industry is currently being rewritten with the approval of iGaming in the states of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. Already Nevada and Delaware have formalized an agreement to permit residents of each state to play internet poker together. It would seem, therefore, if new iGaming regulators want to ultimately have an agreement with states in the USA, that they will have to model their regulatory structures to meet the standards being adopted in the US. When it comes to establishing future inter-state or inter-jurisdiction agreements with the United States that those agreements will not be vehicles in which lower standards will be struck.
Do you think that some of Pedley’s experience in Australia and other markets can be useful in the Caribbean region? Experience is one commodity that must be earned and from experience we can avoid repeating mistakes. Everyone with experience has something to offer. Each jurisdiction will always have unique elements of oversight driven by prevailing laws, their enabling statute and/or the alignment with an already established regulatory framework for a land-based industry. It is up to each jurisdiction to listen to those with experience and decide what path they will follow in this segment of the gaming industry.
Regarding your speech, it was divided into two parts: BMM’s core business and the potential of the Caribbean market. What are BMM’s main challenges in the Caribbean and Latin America? BMM employs over 240 people in 13 countries and operates 11 gaming labs. Why do we have all those locations? The answer is that each location has occurred to satisfy a regulatory requirement, to accommodate a client or to serve a region. We primarily serve the Caribbean region from our Las Vegas location but we have options when necessary to work with regulators, manufacturers and operators from other locations as well. BMM is very active in the Caribbean and has strong relationships there.
As you noted in your speech, the Caribbean, like the United States, is still recovering from the largest economic downturn in 100 years. Could you explain the role of tourism in recovering from this? In the presentation, I noted that the availability for vacation dollars has been scarce in recent years. The presentation provided an in-depth look at the proliferation of gambling within the USA with regard to commercial casinos, Tribal casinos with both Class II and Class III games, traditional lottery products plus lottery operated gaming facilities, legalized games of chance and internet gaming that is being offered by both lotteries and commercial casinos. As the economy improves in the US, there will be more money available for vacations. The Caribbean is very convenient to sixty percent of the US population – 180 million people live east of the Mississippi. With the US economy improving and families wanting to take advantage of the best that the Caribbean has to offer, i.e., beautiful beaches, world-class golf, scuba diving, sailing, first class resorts and a wide variety of islands from which to choose, it is important for the Caribbean to continue its advertising to encourage US tourists to choose this tropical region.
Looking ahead, what are BMM’s plans? BMM continues its growth in every region and its support of the industry through its attendance and participation at gaming conferences. BMM hosts its own custom iGaming Workshop and has two events scheduled in the near future in Minnesota and Oklahoma.