Exclusive: Luis Gama, from Gaming Consultores, explains the importance of having a regulated market

The Uruguayan consultant and former regulator, Luis Gama, was National Director of the Dirección Nacional de Loterías y Quinielas (Uruguay) in 2012 and in parallel and during the period from October 2013 to February 2020 he was appointed President of the Corporación Iberoamericana de Loterías y Apuestas of State (CIBELAE), being re-elected for 4 consecutive terms.

After 8 years as a Regulator, he started his work as an Independent Consultant and partnered with the former regulator from Peru, Manuel Sanromán, from Paraguay Javier Balbuena and from Panama Eric Rios, thus creating the Consultant GAMING CONSULTORES.

Today, he spoke to the iGaming Brazil portal, bringing his experience and critical look at the country’s situation regarding the regulation of sports betting law in the country.

Check the interview in full

iGaming Brazil – Luis, tell us a little about yourself, your background and how you became a regulator.

Luis Gama – After holding several positions in the Uruguayan State and being linked to the entertainment sector since 2008, the then President of the Republic appointed me National Director of Lotteries and Quinielas in February 2012. A position I held until February 28, 2020. I also chaired the Ibero-American Corporation of State Lotteries (CIBELAE) and was a member of the Executive Committee of the World Lottery Association (WLA). Today I have a consultant, Gaming Consultores, with 3 more partners.

iGaming Brazil – And what jobs do you currently do and for whom?

Luis Gama – Initially independently and later in association with 3 highly regarded colleagues, we carried out this project which includes consultancy and advisory work aimed at both the Private Sector and State Organizations. We understood that there was a space that, as former regulators, it was very possible to occupy. There is no precedent in the industry that actors who held positions in the State are framed in a private project linked to gambling.

Our experience helps to understand the logic of how the industry moves in the public sphere and, consequently, facilitates the realization of business. We know the legislation, we understand the legal framework that countries have today, we are clear about where the industry is going and the paths that should be followed.

iGaming Brazil – Talking about the regulation of sports betting. How do you see this theme in terms of implementation?

Luis Gama – Implementation necessarily has to be done jointly between the public and private sectors. I believe that after the corresponding regulation is approved, everyone has elements to contribute and carry out actions aimed at the general interest.

It is a shame all the time invested in specifying a suitable regulatory framework to carry out the exploitation of sports betting. The issue is still unresolved and I am convinced that it is an unavoidable necessity and should not be delayed any longer. In my last participation in Brazil, I visualized a genuine commitment from the private sector in a scenario of enormous uncertainty.

iGaming Brazil – The entire online betting and gaming industry is growing, although it still doesn’t have the definitive law. How do you see the market after regulation?

Luis Gama – Undoubtedly, the path of regulation is the most appropriate. In my opinion, Brazil wasted a lot of time in passing the decree that regulates the law passed in 2018. Due to its importance and weight at the regional level, everyone is waiting for what will be resolved in the short or medium term.

Many countries, including Brazil, have difficulty understanding that regulation is the tool to be used. Many legislators whose vote is necessary to pass laws, understand that regulation implies promoting gambling and that the law is the trigger for it to start to settle in society from that moment. A serious mistake that is repeated in some countries. The game is installed with or without regulation and what the State must do is take charge and assume the role that corresponds to it.

iGaming Brazil – Continuing with the theme – Regulation – what is the importance of governing the market, making an in-depth analysis of the importance of controlling it afterwards.

Luis Gama – One of the synonyms of the term regulation and the one I usually prefer to use is “put in order”. That’s what it’s about. Order an active and operational activity and where the State has to assume its responsibilities. The countries understood the need to address the issue and practically all of them are advancing with greater or lesser speed. I think there is no more time to waste and unfortunately the region has not been up to the task in terms of the game. This is the result of several factors, but the most important, in my opinion, is the total absence of a State policy that makes the issue expand and that, in general, specific rather than general issues are addressed with permanence in time.

If we take into account the progress in the Region, we must highlight the performance that Colombia has been achieving, leading in regulatory matters. Argentina is fundamentally advancing in the most important provinces of the country, Peru has passed the law and is defining the corresponding regulatory decree, and Chile and Uruguay are discussing bills that are being considered in the different National Parliaments.

In this scenario, Brazil has advanced a lot with the passage of the law, but has suffered considerable stagnation in the implementation of the regulation. Something that can only be understood because particular interests and/or highly distorted considerations of reality are prevailing.