The Challenges and Benefits of Operating in a Tightly Regulated Industry

Business Insights

David Williams from online gambling operator,, says that while operating in a regulated industry is tough it opens up plenty of opportunities.

Complying with regulations is a fact of life for most businesses, but not all industries are created equal. There are some where regulations are strict and the consequences for transgressions are severe. Health care, finance, and our own sector, online gambling, are prominent examples of such industries. Operating in any of these fields comes with a unique set of challenges.

Some of those challenges are obvious. A responsibly-run business with more rules to follow must naturally spend more time and resources on ensuring that rules are followed than a similar business in a less regulated sector would.

But the challenges don’t end there. There’s future planning to consider. Regulations change frequently in tightly-controlled industries and a business that’s compliant today may not be tomorrow.

Then there’s the issue of expansion. Regulations aren’t uniform and what’s acceptable in one country or region may be restricted in another. Expanding a successful business into a new area can bring with it a daunting workload of checking and adjusting practices to avoid falling foul of local regulations.

Those are just a few examples, but there are many more. So how can businesses overcome the myriad challenges that are presented to them in highly-regulated industries? That’s not a simple question to answer, but there are some broad strategies that can help.

Following tight regulations is the number one strategy for online casino providers

The first and arguably most impactful strategy for online casino and sports betting operators is to adopt a philosophy of compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the regulations. This means not only carefully checking that regulations aren’t being breached, but understanding and respecting the purposes of the regulations.

It’s often the case that when a company truly takes on board the intended function of regulations, compliance with many of the specific rules follows naturally.

For example, the main regulatory body of the UK gambling industry is the Gambling Commission, which is responsible for providing licenses and setting the rules and regulations that operators must follow.

The Gambling Commission has stated that its main objectives are to make gambling safe, fair, and crime-free. While there are no shortcuts, operators who earnestly commit to pursuing these same objectives are much less likely to find themselves at odds with regulations and will find the path to compliance an easier one to tread.

Which brings us to our second strategy: accept that, when it comes to compliance in a tightly regulated industry, there are no shortcuts. This can be challenging for many entrepreneurs, who are often natural rule breakers, but there is simply no way around it.

Businesses that want to be successful and sustainable in highly regulated industries must commit themselves to doing the hard work of ensuring they comply with regulations. Once they accept this, they can focus their creative energies on innovating the parts of their business that are more flexible.

It can be tempting for businesses in any sector to view regulations as strictly negative and regulatory bodies as adversaries to endlessly battle against. This needn’t be the case. Regulatory bodies and businesses can often have complementary interests, and certainly it’s not difficult to find examples where absence of regulations has led to bad outcomes for both businesses and consumers.

In New Zealand, for instance, it is illegal to operate an online gambling business from within the country’s borders, but not illegal for customers to play at foreign-based online casinos. This has led to a situation where online gambling is widespread and effectively unregulated.

For customers, the lack of a regulatory body means that there is no recourse if disputes arise and no protection from harmful practices. Lack of recourse can also negatively affect the operators themselves, alongside the problems caused by lack of legal clarity around their activities and the damage to customer confidence caused by less scrupulous operators.

On the whole it is a hazardous and uncertain market for businesses and customers alike.

Companies benefit from tight regulation as much as consumers do

While it’s clear that high levels of regulation in an industry present robust challenges to businesses, the process of overcoming those challenges, and the lessons that can be learned from that process, can ultimately make a business stronger.

The necessity to ensure the compliance of all new campaigns and initiatives encourages coordination and communication between departments, driving a business towards efficiency and synergy.

The fact that regulations aren’t uniform across regions encourages careful consideration of target markets and discourages blind expansion, which can be fraught with missteps for any business. The need to react quickly to a changing regulatory landscape encourages businesses to be agile and responsive. These are principles and lessons that can be valuable to any business.

Ultimately, operating in a highly regulated sector can drive a business to aim for and achieve the highest possible standards.

So long as regulation is sensible, considered and proportionate, it can be a positive force for both businesses and consumers, encouraging customer confidence, safeguarding the vulnerable and allowing businesses to thrive in a sustainable and socially responsible manner.