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Gaming license applications may seem like nothing more than a nuisance amidst the flurry of states legalizing online gambling. However, Compliable, a company working to help operators get their applications done quickly and correctly says that doing so can potentially save millions of dollars.
Compliable’s CEO Chris Oltyan spoke with Online Poker Report on the topic.
Oltyan’s third-party licensing business is being called the “TurboTax of US online gaming licenses.” Its client list is growing, too. Compliable’s website states that it’s “trusted by” FanDuel and Sporttrade, though representatives of both companies declined to comment for this article.
Mary Kay Bean, a communications specialist with the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), emphasized that the board doesn’t endorse any particular products or services related to gaming licenses.
She nonetheless spoke briefly with OPR about the process in general terms, stating:
“The process is easiest for us when applicants provide all required information in a timely manner, regardless of whether it’s a single individual or a group of individuals.”
She added that applicants sometimes apply through third parties, such as attorneys.
Getting a license application approved before competitors can mean “first mover advantage” in a new market. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support its importance. For instance, in Virginia, FanDuel Sportsbook was the first to launch. While it’s unclear if licensing played a role in that particular case, FanDuel now holds a 53% share of the Virginia online sports betting market.
As for what precisely Compliable does, that’s perhaps best heard straight from the horse’s mouth. Here are the questions OPR asked Oltyan earlier this month, and his responses with only very light editing for clarity:
Speed to market is critical, particularly during the time after a new state opens up. We have heard from our clients that each day you are behind can cost up to millions in marketing and customer acquisition costs.
Those are costs above what they would have to spend had they simply been there earlier. While the dollar amounts change from operator to operator, the reality is that once a customer hops onto a specific sports betting platform, it’s really hard to get them to move to another one.
Licensing is an often overlooked piece of the speed-to-market puzzle. The reason it trips some operators up is the multi-layered aspect of it.
The main licenses for the business and key personnel are pretty straightforward. The complications come with states that require occupational licenses, and that gets multiplied when you have to validate that all your vendors and affiliates are properly licensed.
When each state has different rules, it’s hard to make sure everyone is up to date. Compliable’s platform can help manage the chaos in all this, and give you a clear picture of your operations licensure across the board. Our customers have reported a 91% reduction in time it takes to get all the required personnel to complete their licensing applications.
While there is little we can do (at the moment) to reduce the time it takes to get those licenses reviewed by the regulators, we have been able to make sure all the licenses are completed 100% accurately. That prevents delays caused by back-and-forths to correct minor issues in applications.
First, I wish it were a simple answer, but depending on the state, licensing can take anywhere from a month to a year. This includes just the review process by the state regulator, not even factoring in how long it takes the operator to compile and submit the applications.
As applications are investigated by the regulators, additional delays can crop up as discrepancies or errors are found. The last complicating factor is just figuring out what sorts of licenses you need.
We are building out features to help with compiling, submitting and making sure license applications are accurate. Right now, we are focused on occupational, vendor and affiliate licensing workflows. We plan on having all license types supported by the end of the year.
So, let’s take a multi-jurisdictional sportsbook generically, but we can use Sporttrade as a specific example. Sporttrade is new to the field, and is expanding rapidly across multiple states.
On their website they note they are launching in New Jersey, with additional states to come. With Compliable, they are able to get their New Jersey license for their employees using the platform to capture and store the information needed for the application. This can involve hundreds of pages of applications and even more pages of supporting documentation.
Even with our system, this can take a day or two to get everyone’s information together. The next state they go live in, rather than collecting and filling out all the same information again, they can just select the new form, fill out a few additional questions required specifically by that state, and have a packet of applications ready to go in minutes. Additionally, each state has different timing requirements for renewals, and we can keep track of that and provide a one-button solution to getting those renewals completed.
We are literally working on a case study right now with a Tier 1 operator, and will be happy to share the results with you when it’s completed. Anecdotally, we were told that a five-week process of getting new employees through the process had been reduced to three days. We look forward to sharing more data on this as we expand the number of operators we work with.
Renewals vary in timing and complexity from state to state, and generally you want to submit the renewal 60 days before the license expires. Typically, the renewal is a simplified form that uses the same information we have stored in the system already. Sometimes there are updates required, like a new position name, or a new address associated with an employee, but those are just a few quick questions and we can assemble the required information to put together a renewal form.
We have had an overwhelming response for our vendor and affiliate licensing module, and have signed several new customers over the past few weeks since announcing we were going live. We have also started pilots with several Tier 1 operators that we hope to be able to talk about more soon. We’re incredibly excited to be in an industry that has such explosive growth and look forward to being a key part of that expansion.
Simply helping to fill out forms is useful, but we’re really looking to provide the definitive platform for compliance teams in the gaming space over time. We’re going to the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), a conference targeted at state regulators, to see how we can improve the end-to-end efficiency of our product. After all, one of the nice aspects of TurboTax is that they make it easy to fill out forms AND submit them to their final destination. We look forward to working with regulators to make that happen in the gaming industry, as well.