Massive International Turnout at GLI Roundtable

The 12th annual Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) Roundtable earlier this month saw turnout from 100 government representatives, coming from countries across Latin America. In total, the GLI, which took place in San Jose, Costa Rica, saw representation from 19 different countries.

The 12th Gaming Laboratories International Roundtable

This marked the 12th GLI, a complementary roundtable event spanning three days. During the course of the event, participants share in a number of informative presentations, productive networking opportunities, and ample room for interesting discussions. The event is curated specifically for regulators of gambling and the lottery, as well as government lottery officials, and only government representatives are allowed to attend.

A diagram of people sitting around a table, with speech bubbles coming out of their head to indicate a lively discussion.

Earlier this month marked the 12th Roundtable organized by Gaming Laboratories International, this time with a focus on Latin America. Ricinator/Pixabay

The GLI Roundtable is organized by GLI University, the educational division of Gaming Laboratories International. However, officials responsible for organizing the GLI made sure to specifically commend the Junta de Protección Social (JPS Costa Rica Lottery), which played a central role aiding in the organization of this year’s event.

Specifically, GLI Director of Latin America and Caribbean Government Regulations and Business Development Karen Sierra-Hughes shouted out the JPS Lottery and the Ministry of Public Safety of Costa Rica for “bringing a delegation of local government representatives that was the largest to date.”

The countries in attendance at this year’s GLI were (in alphabetical order): Argentina, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and Uruguay. In addition to these 19 countries, the GLI was attended by 32 government entities and two government associations, CIBELAE (Iberoamerican Association of State Lotteries) and ALEA (Association of State Lotteries of Argentina).

According to an official press release from Gaming Laboratories International, this marked peak attendance for the annual conference.

“We are humbled by the great success of the Roundtable, and we are grateful to the 100 government representatives that decided to join us this year. The wealth of knowledge shared was unparalleled, and we are certain it will once again result in important regulatory advances for the jurisdictions in attendance.”Karen Sierra-Hughes, Director of Latin America and Caribbean Government Relations and Business Development, Gaming Laboratories International

Topics covered by speakers at this year’s event included: news regarding international regulations policy, objectives for future policy and compliance measures both legally and technically. In addition, speakers considered their roles incubating the gaming industry from crime, including cybersecurity, as well as a broad look at social responsibilities industry leaders must keep in mind.

The next GLI, this time with a focus on regulators in North America, will take place at the Tropicana Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas on March 4-5, 2020.

GLI and Latin America

GLI has been cooperating with Latin America for almost two decades, since starting to test their gaming devices in Peru in 1997. This was followed almost ten years later when the company secured a business partnership with Normalización y Certificación Electronica (NYCE) in Mexico, the government body responsible for issuing certifications. Interestingly, despite this long-standing partnership, Mexico was not in attendance at this year’s GLI Roundtable.

In the last years, GLI has built a robust relationship with the gaming industry in Latin America. Across the gaming market, GLI has a reputation for equitable and responsible business standards— a welcome expertise and name to add to a burgeoning market in countries like Colombia and Brazil.

In Latin America, promise for a gaming industry is vast but, due to longstanding opposition to gaming or any multitude of other reasons, the infrastructure for a healthy gaming industry is not yet in place.

That’s why developments like GLI’s collaboration with Instituto de Ayuda Financiera a la Acción Social (IAFAS) in 2009, which made IAFAS a functional regulatory body for gaming devices in South America, are crucial to building a stable structure for the very promising Latin American gaming market.

In Just 3 Decades, A Massive Name in the Industry

Gaming Laboratories International was founded in late June, 1989 by James Maida and Paul Magno in Toms River, New Jersey. That year, they teamed up with the state of South Dakota and were allowed to be centrally involved in the development of the first video game-based lottery in the US.

Throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s, GLI continued to expand throughout the United States, Australia, and South Africa, opening new offices in Adelaide (Australia), Sydney (Australia), and Pretoria (South Africa). In addition to these offices, GLI also established laboratories in the Netherlands, Bologna, Italy, and Macau, China.

A computer graphic of many different lottery tickets in Spanish in front of a glossy black background.

The GLI conference came just after significant changes were made in several Latin American lotteries, including those in Mexico and Brazil. ©meinerersterampe/Pixabay

Good Timing for Talking: Some Changes in Latin American Lotteries

This year’s GLI Roundtable for regulators in Latin America came at a good time.

Shortly before the conference, major decisions were made in Mexico and Brazil — two central markets of interest for gaming companies, with particularly robust lotteries — which would change how their lotteries were played.

In Mexico, officials voted almost unanimously to combine Mexico’s two major lotteries. The decision came in light of the fact that Mexico’s existing national lottery, LOTENAL, had been struggling for years, unable to rise to the challenge posed by the more user-friendly, more modern Pronósticos. It is anticipated that the change will absolve LOTENAL of tremendous debt and save operating costs overall.

Brazil has seen two big updates: the first, the privatization of the national lottery, a move that ended a 60-year monopoly on the national lottery by the national bank, CAIXA. In the sale, two US-owned companies, International Game Technology and Scientific Games signed a joint contract where they will each own 50% of Brazil’s national lottery for the next fifteen years.

Shortly after came the next big announcement for the lottery in Brazil: a price increase for most other lottery tickets in the country. This decision was made in favor of CAIXA, the national bank and former owner of the national lottery, who still retains ownership of most of Brazil’s other lotteries. For this reason, CAIXA will cushion any potential losses they could incur through the sale of the national lottery to US-owned private companies.

In short, in a landscape of increasing digitization and privatization, the Latin American casino market was in dire need of a good talk, and more updates are sure to be on the horizon.

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