Alderney Names Journalist Andrew Gellatly As Online Regulator

December 5, 2022
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The Alderney Gambling Control Commission has named veteran gambling journalist, policy researcher and VIXIO GamblingCompliance co-founder Andrew Gellatly as executive director, signalling an acceleration in pandemic-era global engagement.

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The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has named veteran gambling journalist, policy researcher and VIXIO GamblingCompliance co-founder Andrew Gellatly as executive director, signalling an acceleration in pandemic-era global engagement.

The AGCC said on Monday (December 5) that Gellatly’s journalism background and “expansive global network and more than 25 years of experience in the online gambling industry” will be key in the next phase of Alderney’s regulatory evolution.

“Andrew has established himself as a trusted voice in the global gambling industry,” AGCC chair Lord Faulkner of Worcester said in the statement. “His career has been built on independence, impartiality, and a deep knowledge of the sector.

“We look forward to Andrew representing the AGCC on the global stage, developing our strategy and ensuring our regulatory approach continues to meet the needs of licensees and operators.”

Gellatly replaces the retiring Jorn Starck, who had held the post since 2015.

Gellatly is apparently the first specialist gambling journalist and researcher to helm a regulator.

After a four-year stint with the Financial Times writing on sports, betting and technology, Gellatly co-founded VIXIO’s predecessor company GamblingCompliance in 2006, serving as editorial director. He also produced numerous market intelligence and analytical publications, and in recent years served as head of global research before departing the company in 2021.

Gellatly said in the statement that increasingly diversified and complex online markets around the world are “creating unprecedented opportunities for global-facing businesses, with new products and new delivery channels".

“I will be extending Alderney’s already established international profile as a collaborative, trusted and supportive regulator working with the highest quality brands and companies,” he said.

In an interview with VIXIO on Sunday, Gellatly said the AGCC “very intently set out not to hire a bureaucrat or to hire a professional regulator from another sector, but they wanted to hire somebody who could give them industry engagement, external engagement at a global level”.

“It’s not so much poacher turned gamekeeper, as … quality control into production,” he said.

He credited Starck with taking a “global approach” to Alderney’s business model some five years ago that has “paid off”, and that his role is not one of change as much as extending this approach.

“We’re seeing licensees, either current or prospective licensees, looking to have Alderney regulation as a prerequisite to moving into newly regulated markets like Canada, some of the Latin American markets. They understand that Alderney has good relationships with regulators in those markets.”

Gellatly said Alderney’s work with African markets was hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and that Africa is less of a priority.

“I don’t think it has really matured in the way that it was expected to, but I think there’s great potential there,” he said.

The gaming ecosystem has changed substantially for online regulation over the last decade, with the AGCC losing much of its competitive advantage for UK-facing operations.

But Gellatly said the bulk of Alderney licensee business is now global-facing, and that, as with Brexit, any impact of the upcoming UK Gambling Act white paper on Alderney will be “limited” to a minority of licensees amounting to 20 percent of business in the regulator’s stable.

He said this diversification, along with a stable tax regime and ease of doing business in Alderney and Guernsey, allows the regulator to maintain competitiveness as events unfold.

The AGCC is also watching the India and Philippines online markets closely and welcomes the opportunity to talk with officials there amid considerable political and judicial turbulence.

As for the Americas, Gellatly identified the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and the opening of a nationwide sports-betting industry there as “decisive and influential” for Alderney.

“We are seeing some of the participants in the US sports-betting market coming with plans to get licensed in Latin America, licensed in Canada.

“The interest that has driven people to regulated gambling in the US is also driving a wave of interest in markets around the world.”

He also expects to welcome a batch of online operators likely to flee long-delayed regulatory reforms in Curaçao.

“We’re very alive to the fact that there are Curaçao licensees that are looking to relocate from Curaçao. Some will obviously not want to raise their game to the level of Alderney standards; some will."

Alderney’s next MONEYVAL evaluation begins in March, and Gellatly said the last evaluation six years ago was “exemplary” and that the AGCC is keen to communicate its compliance modus operandi to the inspectors.

“Right now, as we’ve seen with Gibraltar, which has been censured by the [Financial Action Task Force] for not fining enough of its licensees, the same [claim of minimal penalties] could be levelled at Alderney.

“The reality is that Alderney has a continuous dialogue with all of its licensees. When I talk about the staff I’ve inherited being immensely capable, the customer relationship managers have certainly weekly, but often daily, dialogue with licensees.

“Any issues that come up are addressed and remediated before they become serious, fineable, actionable events.

“The moment a fine is levied, it’s effectively a confirmation that your regulation has not been effective. That is the view we take; that’s why we don’t get to a situation where a fine is necessary because we have effective regulation that is applied continuously.”

In 2021, Alderney’s eGambling licensees, associate certificate holders, core service providers and hosting providers contributed some £2m ($2.5m) to the island’s reserves, a core revenue source that the AGCC will be happy to grow.

However, Gellatly said some online gambling jurisdictions carry “too many licences”, reducing communication to a minimum and hampering intensive supervision. Alderney’s expansion as an online regulatory hub will not come at this cost, he said.

On cryptocurrency gambling, Gellatly said the AGCC is observing developments in the sector, but “right now there is no crypto for our operators in Alderney”.

Gellatly's post as AGCC executive director is open-ended. He will relocate to the island of Guernsey, the seat of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, which includes the island of Alderney.

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