GLI closed a dynamic year at SAGSE 2019
(Buenos Aires, Exclusive SoloAzar).- Karen Sierra, Director, Government Relations and Business Development, LatAm and Caribbean, GLI, talked to SoloAzar during SAGSE 2019. "Our role has evolved in order to give an integral service to our customers, and with experts on the matter in each of the sectors," said Sierra, when taking about the history of the company.
2019 marked your 20th anniversary in Latin America, and we want to know details about the beginnings of GLI in the region
We started our activities in Peru, which was the first jurisdiction in Latin America in establishing the technical compliancce in 1998, and 20 years later, we are very grateful with the country, because it was the one which opened the process for the rest of the countries, and it was an example for everyone. We started in this jurisdiction working with international providers who entered in the Latin American markets. Then, the processes expanded to other jurisdictions, such as Panama, the Province of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza. Argentina was always one of the thriving, innovative institutions, and then the regulation process started slowly; the technical compliance started to grow when it was adopted in different jurisdictions.
At first it was much slower, and now, as we all can see in the industry nowadays, they replicate the best practices faster, but at that moment it was just the beginning. Our labour started helping the regulator on the certification processes, but eventually, all the processes also generate opportunities for local providers. 20 years ago there were Argentinian providers of roulettes, but with those processes, even more development is generated. And there is where we also start to bring our service to Latin American local providers and manufacturers, supported on their efforts in order to compete with international brands that also entered in those markets. The experience has been very nice because we feel that we have grown together, that we all have been part of this way, and 20 years later, much of them continue, and we can see how everything has evolved generating more opportunities for everyone. We feel that the certification and audit process we perform has also been part of their growth, because it let them compete in equal conditions with those big international providers, with GLI quality seal.
We started with certification of games, after that, with systems, lotteries, sportsbooks, online gaming, cyber security, responsible gaming, money laundering prevention, development of laws and regulations in Central America and the Caribbean, where there are neither gaming laws nor regulatory entities. Our role has evolved in the same way in order to offer our customers an integral service, and with experts on the matter in any of the categories.
How has been GLI regional experience, working with regulators, operators and manufacturers from all the countries?
Very enriching, because in every opportunity we have to interact with our customers, we learn a lot. Not only is it about understanding technology but you have to understand idiosyncrasy, the culture of the country or jurisdiction; you have to understand the reality and the needs of the industry. If we did not have those interactions, we could not provide the service we bring. GLI walks country by country, client by client. We not only go to trade shows and conferences and support the industry in this regard, but we are constantly knocking on doors to our regulators, our manufacturers and operators. There is a relationship of trust and they know that they can rely on us to achieve their goals.
We do not evaluate jurisdictions by size. In all of them there comes a time when opportunities arise and often unexpectedly. For example, when there is a political situation that causes a market to open, we have to be there. We have to be proactive and work very seriously. We try to size what may come in the future. In addition to Latin America, the Caribbean is a very important region, because, as it is under development, there will be opportunities, and we give attention to all these areas.
Of course, political news, everything that is happening, also affects development and growth opportunities. But the issue is to be there in good times and bad times. The test is SAGSE. We have been here since its beginnings, and we are still here to continue supporting.
What has been GLI performance in SAGSE this year?
We have our laboratory in Argentina; Impossible not to be in SAGSE. We thank the industry for the support you have given us, for your preference, for working with us. For us, the fact of having a laboratory here and support the local industry is important; It is our only laboratory in Latin America, with almost 100% of suppliers, so it is essential to be here. To be able to talk with our customers and the industry, to know how things are, to see if there is any possibility of supporting them in another way, both with operators and providers, because for online gaming, the operators are now our customers.
There have also have an important representation of local regulators, supporting the event and interacting with the industry.
It is also nice to see that people from the industry abroad have also come, such as the presentations made by FECOLJUEGOS; talking about what is happening in Colombia, so that Argentina will understand first hand what is happening in the industry; how the regulation benefited the opening of these new types of operations. We have also seen people who came from Peru, from Costa Rica, Brazil and Mexico.
You were named one of the most influential woman in the gaming market
I owe this to Vera Motto and Layla Alí, who nominated me. There were a series of jugdes who chose the 10 most influential women. I thank IGaming Business magazine because of the acknowledgement and thankful for everything the industry has enabled to be part of the way and has deposited their trust in my work and in my team. I was the only one in Latin America, in a list in which most of them were European, and I am proud because it is a windon for our industry and its growth.
How does GLI conclude the year?
We have grown and we keep on growing; with or without crisis there are opportunities. The fact that we have diversified so much, that we have so many business lines and so many integral services for the customers enable us to continue growing. Specially in Latin America, in lottery, sportsbooks, online and presential gaming, which is still very important. There has been much interest in new issues; services we offer for foreign countries that are now starting to have a niche here in Latin America. We are very happy. We have had 20 very dynamic years, with innovations all the time. THere's always a challenge, an adventure. We also closed successfully the round table of Latin American and Caribbean regulators, which turned out to be a very enriching meeting, because many of the regulatory changes that arise from the countries have started in the round table.