Thinking of Going Global? This Gambling Industry Group Has Tips

The Gaming Standards Association announced last week the establishment of an international office in Brussels, the organization’s second overseas expansion in three years. GSA’s executive director has advice for other associations contemplating a similar move.

With technology and globalization reshuffling the rules for gambling, the Gaming Standards Association is going where the action is.

As a standards-setting body for the gambling industry, GSA has to stay on top of countless regulatory issues affecting its members. The emergence of online gambling—also referred to as online gaming by the industry—has tossed regulatory agencies throughout the world into a whirl, and some have adapted more quickly than others.

“In Europe, they’ve already moved very forward with online gaming, they’re talking about it, and there’s a lot going on with regards to online gaming,” said GSA Executive Director Michelle Olesiejuk.

With the EU’s regulatory work in full swing, GSA wanted to ensure that it would have some influence in the region. The group announced last week that it had established a presence in Brussels.

“Regulation and technical requirements remain fragmented along [EU member] state boundaries, leading to burdensome inconsistencies for gaming providers,” GSA President Peter DeRaedt said in a statement. “GSA believes … the adoption of common technical standards could be the next building block and a catalyst for enhanced global collaboration between the various stakeholders.”

Establishing an international office isn’t new work for GSA. Three years ago, the group opened an office in Macau, a major gaming center in China. “Having that presence, whether it’s in Brussels or Macau, it’s a good way to make sure that those regulations are not too complicated, and that everybody’s working on the same page,” said Olesiejuk.

She offered three keys for successfully establishing and running an international office.

Know when to expand. Before establishing a presence overseas, an organization needs to determine if it makes sense to expand, Olesiejuk said. “Looking at our industry, gaming is growing across the planet. There’s gaming in Europe, there’s gaming in Asia, there’s gaming in the U.S., there’s gaming all over North America, and there’s all different types of gaming—so, having an international focus is just something that was strategically wise for us.”

Make the right hire. The most pressing matter for GSA when it decided to move into Brussels was to identify someone the organization could trust to run the office. “The individual that you hire to operate that office is going to be the biggest decision that you make,” said Olesiejuk. “GSA saw an opportunity to work with a person who has extensive experience in regulatory issues around gaming. That’s really what made the decision easy for us to expand.”

Communicate constantly. Working with an international office across multiple time zones can be tricky, but staying in constant contact is imperative, Olesiejuk said. “In this day and age, the internet makes communication pretty straightforward and easy. Our group in particular, we communicate via Skype. We just make an extra effort to communicate all the time and keep everyone up to date on what’s happening and what issues will be coming down the line.”

Has your association expanded overseas? What tips would you give to a group looking to do the same? Share them in the comments.

(Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!