Gaming Eminence had the opportunity to sit down with Richard Mifsud, CEO of Xprizo. During our conversation, we delved into the significant transaction-related challenges currently faced by gambling operators across different regions and how these challenges are evolving. Additionally, we explored the impact of technological advancements on the efficiency, security, and user experience of financial transactions in the gambling industry. We also discussed key regulatory hurdles and compliance issues that operators should pay particular attention to when it comes to payment processing in diverse markets. Lastly, we touched upon the complexities of cross-border transactions and the challenges associated with expanding into new markets
GE) With your extensive experience in fintech and payment processing, can you identify some of the major transaction-related challenges currently faced by gambling operators across different regions, and how these challenges are evolving?
RM) The challenges that gambling operators face currently are also felt within other sectors. As regulators worldwide become stricter, banks and other financial institutions are reluctant to take risks, largely due to the fear of substantial fines. This stance has led to a peculiar situation where vast regions, especially in emerging areas such as Africa, South-East Asia, India, and Latin America, remain underbanked or entirely unbanked. It leaves a tricky situation, as in their efforts to combat nefarious financial activities, these very regulators – who claim to be protectors of the people in these underserved parts of the world – are comfortable to accept leaving nearly 3 billion individuals without banking access. To me, this seems like hypocrisy. The best path forward is striking a balance between ensuring customers’ safety and providing them with the financial services that many in the western world take for granted. A challenge is granting operators access to territories and clients that were previously unattainable. Additionally, operators would benefit from support in remitting funds they accrue in these regions, thereby facilitating more efficient business operations.
GE) Technology plays a pivotal role in the gambling industry's transaction landscape. Could you share your thoughts on how technological advancements are impacting the efficiency, security, and user experience of financial transactions within this sector?
RM) I couldn’t agree more. As we progress, an increasing amount of financial activity is migrating to digital platforms, making technology integral for any business’s success. Naturally, this move brings its own set of challenges, including issues related to security, fraud protection, and more. One should think of having mitigation software in place, make sure it has policies, procedures for best operating practices and recruit trained staff to monitor transactions to limit this abuse. Hence, it’s imperative that when researching payments providers, one ensures that they operate within a secure environment. This means that a payment processor should have the security certifications and operate under one or more reputable licensed jurisdictions. Secondly, one should do due diligence on the operations of the same payment processor. There have been impressive advancements in the sector. The rise of digital assets has added momentum to these developments. Today, we’re witnessing transactions being settled instantly, a stark contrast to traditional banking systems where even an average transaction could take a week or sometimes even longer. In my view, the best strategy for operators is to integrate and work with those processors that have proven to be coming up with the best and most efficient technology.
GE) Could you discuss how payment methods and consumer behaviours vary across different regions and how gambling operators can adapt to these variations for a seamless transaction experience?
RM) This is indeed a challenging question, given the nuanced nature of operations across various regions. Each territory typically has its preferred payment option, such as M-PESA in East Africa, GCash in Philippines, or Pix for Brazil - making it essential to identify the right one for each location. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, at least until we see mass adoption of digital assets. To cater for consumer behaviours across the different regions it’s key to consolidate as many distinct payment methods as possible in one place. This way, operators can integrate one API to gain seamless access to a wide selection of options.
GE) From your vantage point, what are the key regulatory hurdles and compliance issues that gambling operators should be particularly attentive to when it comes to payment processing in diverse markets? Are there any recent developments or trends worth highlighting?
RM) It’s crucial to work closely with fintech providers that are licensed in the territories they operate, as this offers an additional layer of assurance. Sadly we’re still in a world where no system can guarantee 100% security. We often hear about companies whose funds become inaccessible for various reasons. Sometimes these issues are beyond the fintech industry’s control, such as funds being held by banks for investigations or by tax regulators, as recently observed in India. To strengthen safeguard operations, operators should introduce robust compliance and transaction analysis processes internally. This ensures they have an auxiliary system of checks and balances to identify any irregularities that the fintech solution might have missed.
GE) Given your global experience, can you provide examples of successful strategies or innovations that have helped gambling operators navigate the complexities of cross-border transactions and expand into new markets?
RM) Experience has shown that it’s paramount that operators collaborate with experts who are knowledgeable about local environments if they wish to deliver successful expansion strategies. These insights help operators avoid potential pitfalls instead of learning through costly missteps. In terms of innovations, one of the best innovations has been the adoption of Alternative Payment Methods (APMs) that has allowed a move away from traditional cash or major card scheme transactions. Well designed digital wallets and payment platforms provide intuitive and user-friendly interfaces to enable effortless payments. Additionally, a wide portfolio of payment options allows players to select the method they are most at ease with using.
About our contributor:
Richard Mifsud, is a seasoned serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in technology, specializing in Igaming and fintech. Holding executive positions like COO and CEO, he has established successful ventures. In 2019, one of his startups won Lottery Software Provider of the Year. Richard's expertise extends to working with global Igaming regulators, including the UKGC, MGA, BCLB, and Curacao, where he holds a personal management license. Actively integrating blockchain, AI, and Fintech into society, his passion stems from extensive work in emerging markets across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Visit https://xprizo.com/