The 8th KPMG eSummit took place last Thursday on the Sunborn Yacht in Gibraltar with more than 300 delegates attending. They gathered to stay abreast of developments in blockchain and the future of eGaming in the territory most widely known as the location of the Rock, a 426 meter (1,400ft) high limestone ridge.
Loyal readers will know that we have been covering the developing standards and emerging regulations for blockchain-based eGaming businesses in Malta and the Isle of Man in recent weeks and months. Gibraltar is also working to position itself as a Fintech hub in the region with gaming driving the initiative.
KPGM is one of the ‘Big Four’ global accounting firms and the eSummit saw an impressive roster of experts share insights on a variety of highly focused topics including Brexit. Other important keynotes included foresight on the Gibraltar gambling jurisdiction and the outlook for the industry there. The possibility that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) will be repealed in the United States and other market developments were explored in detail, as were best practices in consumer protection, in a discussion led by Adam Rivers (pictured). Distributed ledger technology (DLT), tokens, and other elements of blockchain business were explored through the lens of an evolving regulatory landscape and how these developments affect Gibraltar now and what these maturations will mean in the years to come.
The eSummit’s founder, Micky Swindale, welcomed delegates to the event and the Hon. Albert Isola, Minister for Commerce in Gibraltar opened the conference with a positive outlook and a well-reasoned assessment that “the eGaming industry in Gibraltar remains in excellent health and order”.
The Minister underscored the health of the Gibraltar eGaming industry by noting that applications for licensing are still strong and well over 4,500 people in Gibraltar are directly or indirectly employed by the industry with more than 3,250 fully involved in the day to day operations and about half again as many providing support services.
He spoke of progress being made with the UK Government in regard to Brexit and added that “only Gibraltar has guaranteed access to UK markets post Brexit”.
Outgoing Gambling Commissioner, Phill Brear and former 888 and Burford Group CEO, John Anderson were presented KPMG recognition awards by the Minister who noted that Brear’s work over the decades was inextricably related the Gibraltar’s success as a gaming jurisdiction. Of Anderson, Isola said he was an “an unsung hero” who had given “excellent service to the industry and jurisdiction for over 40 years”.
After Brear took the stage he noted that Gibraltar’s success was ultimately down to who they chose to license. His address was followed by comments from his successor, Andrew Lyman who reflected on his experiences in his first 100 days as Executive Director of the Gambling Commission. He also promised that the Commission would continue to provide support for operators by working closely with them.
Distributed ledger technology and the feasibility of implementing legislation for technology that is constantly evolving were discussed by Gibraltar Financial Services Commission senior advisor, Sian Jones. Ms. Jones noted that 30 applications have been received so far for DLT licenses and that the first license is expected to be granted this summer. ICO’s and tokenized digital asset regulations were also discussed.
Two Masterclasses were conducted by the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL). The first focused on Brexit and was conducted by KPMG Brexit advisor Mark Essex. The second was facilitated by Richard Schuetz who has worked as an operator as well as regulator and advisor in jurisdictions as remote as California and the Caribbean.
The afternoon was filled with discussions on more hot topics and emerging developments in the industry including Fintech, crypto-funding, gender diversity, and data protection to name a few of the break out sessions.
The greatest number of delegates gathered in the 5-star super-yacht hotel’s ballroom for panel discussions before retiring to the sun deck for networking and drinks.
Will Hawkley, Global Head of Leisure at KPMG reflected on this years event and noted: “With events moving at such a pace, and external pressures such as Brexit and evolving legislation still creating uncertainty, it is extremely helpful and constructive to have an opportunity to reflect on how the industry in Gibraltar has progressed to date and where we would all like it to go in the future.” He added, “It is very encouraging to see such a positive picture emerging and I’m extremely grateful to all our clients and speakers for sharing their insights and providing thought leadership on such an important range of topics.”
Sponsors of the even included Continent 8, Gibtelecom, HM Government of Gibraltar, Hassans, ISOLAS, Kompli-Global, Microgaming, Mishcon de Reya, and SMP. World Casino News was honored to contribute as a Media Partner for the event.
To find more conferences and events conducted by the firm, please visit KPMG.