iGaming North America 2012 Conference Review

I apologize for not getting this review out in a more timely fashion, but as they say, better late than never.  The PokerSec team attended the 2nd annual iGaming North America conference.  The conference was located at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I found the conference to be well organized and the conference space and size was perfect.  Well over 500 people attended, which shows the interest and potential of iGaming.  I represented PokerSec at the conference, a company whose focus is information security in the iGaming sector. This was the first iGaming-specific conference that I have attended.  Based on the results and content of this conference, PokerSec is planning to attend several more this year, including the Global iGaming Summit and Expo and the Gaming Technology Summit.  The primary reason that we attended this conference was for marketing purposes.  As a new company, we wanted to make people aware of PokerSec and the need for information security in gaming.  From this aspect, the conference did not disappoint, as we made several contacts and even learned of an opportunity for which we submitted a proposal. We chose to skip the ‘boot camp’ portion on Sunday morning, as we are already very familiar with the iGaming space.  Instead, we attended Sunday’s welcome reception and spent most of the time talking to an organization that had contacted us prior to the conference about some information security concerns.  Hopefully, this contact will lead to some future work.  Moving on to Monday morning and the keynote address, after an entertaining but not very informative speech from former mayor Oscar Goodman, Jonathan Halkyard (CFO of Caesars Entertainment) gave a planned talk that primarily focused on Caesar’s role in the iGaming space.  What I found interesting and something that I had not heard before from someone at Mr. Halkyard’s level was the statement that “current regulations are unacceptable.”  He also mentioned how Caesars was initially against iGaming because they felt the technology was not in place to adequately protect the integrity of the game.  I think we all know that this is not the complete truth, and that Caesars and others opposed regulation only until they could position themselves to be leaders when regulation was passed in the United States.  Because of the events and the outcome of “Black Friday” last April, they have proceeded to do just that.

After the keynote, there was a panel discussion focusing on what the future of iGaming would look like.  I found this to be an interesting talk, even though much of it was based on speculation.  One of the presenters had a short video focused on the time frame from now until 2020.  It was not until 2019 that the video stated “cyber security – most important item.”  I disagreed with this statement and during the question-and-answer period, I asked them about it and also asked if they foresee another major security issue like the UB/AP scandal.  This question sparked a lively discussion between the panelists on security in iGaming.

The other big ‘takeaway’ that I had from this panel (and one that has been reinforced in other talks) was that mobile gaming is going to be big.  This is not surprising, because we are seeing it in other sectors. Of course, the security risks only increase when moving to mobile.  On Tueday’s “Emerging Platforms for Gaming on the Go” panel discussion I asked another security question and the moderator, Roger Gros the publisher Global Gaming Business Magazine, mentioned that he just had an expert in the field write an article for his magazine.  He did not realize it was me and I introduced myself to him at the break.  There were several other good talks and panel discussions ranging from the media perception of iGaming, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) new interpretation of the Wire Act, and lessons learned from other countries where iGaming is regulated.  Not all of the talks were relevant to what PokerSec does, and I was somewhat disappointed that there were no talks focusing on security in iGaming.  However, it looks like some of the talks at upcoming conferences will be more technical and will have some of this content.  Also, there was no vendor exhibit space that I thought was useful.  I understand that this conference is planning to include this topic next time.  Overall, the iGaming North America conference was a great experience. I made several contacts and learned some valuable information.  PokerSec is already looking forward to next year!

Gus Fritschie