Guest Blog

Guest blog | Santiago Asensi on regulatory pressure and blurred lines

Guest blog | Santiago Asensi on regulatory pressure and blurred lines

By: Santiago Asensi, Managing Partner at Asensi Abogados

The past 17th of September, fifteen regulators from Europe and the Washington State regulator signed a declaration in which they noted their increased concern with regard to “the risks being posed by the blurring of lines between gambling and other forms of digital entertainment such as video gaming. Concerns in this area have manifested themselves in controversies relating to skin betting, loot boxes, social casino gaming and the use of gambling themed content within video games available to children.”

First and foremost, it should be noted that this declaration springs from the regulators’ desire to protect minors from exposure to gambling-like products. In an increasing number of cases, certain elements of modern video or social games share many similarities with traditional gambling products. These video games and social games, however, are not classified as gambling. Thus, it could be argued that these gambling regulators are not entitled to be part of this particular debate.

Certainly, one of the main aspects of drawing up gambling regulation is to identify those particular elements (among many others) that fall under the legal definition of “gambling.” This is absolutely crucial when it comes to drawing up the red line between gambling products that require a license and games that do not need a license. This distinction, naturally, also helps define – and limit – the particular scope of gambling regulators’ powers. Those games that fall under the definition of gambling are subject to their oversight, while those games that do not qualify as gambling are beyond their competences.

However, the real cornerstone of any given gambling regulation is the collection of public policies, defined by the legislature, that underlie the gambling regulation as developed by the regulator. The protection of minors is a common goal of all the jurisdictions whose gambling regulators have signed the declaration.

Second, the regulators’ initiative needs to be placed within the context of the various political debates currently taking place in relation to matters like gambling advertising, product restrictions, age verification, etc. Without question, these debates are pressuring regulators into taking up defensive positions, where any new policy, rule or provision that could be applauded by the industry requires much stronger justifications than in the past. Political and media pressure sees to that.

Hopefully, the declaration will be effective in achieving positive results with regard to the protection of minors. Furthering this laudable goal through working closely with consumer protection authorities, as well as holding discussions with other relevant stakeholders seems the right first step. These discussions, however, should not only help to accomplish the primary goal of protecting minors, these may also assist in improving the public image of the industries involved.

Santiago Asensi
Managing Partner
Asensi Abogados

Guest Blog: Gaming sector making the most of Spain’s strong talent market

Guest Blog: Gaming sector making the most of Spain’s strong talent market

An update on the Spanish gaming talent market from Pentasia’s Giuliano Lafirenza

Talent is fundamental to any successful gaming business. Spain remains an attractive region for the sector not only for its market, but also the quality and size of its gaming talent pool.

Gaming operators and suppliers hiring in Spain generally find a good range of strong candidates, sourced either within the region or further afield as expat candidates look to bring their experience back home. Barcelona and Madrid remain the top locations for gaming operations, and talent is clustered around these areas.

Internationally, Spain is renowned as an excellent location for digital innovation and entrepreneurship, with inflow of both talent and investment in tech. The gaming sector here largely employs specialist leadership talent, marketing functions, operations and customer service, whilst locating more substantial teams – such as tech – elsewhere in Europe.

Challenges come in the form of the sector’s own expansion – through new licenses – and closely related industries – such as ecommerce, fintech, payments – which will undoubtedly increase competition for talent. The growth of Spain’s overall tech sector is clearly good for gaming, but employers will need to remain aware of new jobs which may appeal to valuable staff.

Tax changes should also be considered from a talent perspective. Operators looking to benefit from a Ceuta or Melilla location will need to base senior leadership talent in the North African cities; a potential opportunity for many candidates, but unlikely to appeal to all. Staff across the sector will also expect to see at least some benefit from the more favourable conditions.


Pentasia is the world’s leading iGaming Recruitment agency, with offices in Barcelona, London, Malta, Las Vegas, New York and Singapore. 

How AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be used for Responsible Gaming – Guestblog by Dennis Hvam

How AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be used for Responsible Gaming – Guestblog by Dennis Hvam

Award-winning AI technology for early detection of problematic gambling behavior and individualized customer approach.

With increasing availability of online gambling, more people are at risk of developing problem gambling behavior. They often neglect their problem and are unsusceptible to preventive measures offered by operators, including general information, prevention programs, voluntary self-exclusion and limit-setting. Some operators use machine learning to predict later self-exclusion, but only a minority of at-risk or compulsory gamblers self-exclude which negatively affects such predictive algorithms.

At Mindway AI, we take an innovative approach to solve these limitations.

With onset in neuroscience and clinical psychology, we use artificial intelligence which relies on human expert evaluations of thousands of gambling trajectories. A board of clinicians and pathological gambling researchers have meticulously analyzed a large volume of online gambling trajectories, considering the compound gambling behavior over hundreds of thousands of single bets. Applying their expertise, they have scrutinized the underlying gambling behaviors for any signs of developing risky behavior. The result is a completely objective assessment of individual customer’s gambling behavior.

We have developed a fast AI approach to ’digitize’ this evaluation process and we have demonstrated that we are able to evaluate online behavior just like the experts, with accuracy close to 90%.

Moreover, we identify different types of problematic behavior which allows us to generate targeted and individualized conversation guides that can be used in reaching out to customers either online or by an operator’s help-line staff.

The system has already been in use with a major operator for almost two years and has been very well received by customers. We believe this is due to a combination of early detection, where dialogue is efficient, and the highly individualized dialogue due to the tailored speaking guide generated by the AI and expert based system.

Our approach sets a new standard for responsible gambling operation as well as opportunities for operators to keep customers in a long and healthy relationship.