Industry Insider: Anna Sainsbury, GeoComply

For this month’s edition of Industry Insider, we spoke with Anna Sainsbury, Co-Founder & Chairman of GeoComply and founder of Conscious Gaming, to discuss the impact of geolocation on combatting fraud, the importance of responsible gaming, how she is advocating for diversity and inclusion within the industry, and what trends she will be following in 2022.

You helped found GeoComply more than a decade ago. Can you talk about how the gaming industry has changed during that time and how GeoComply has adapted to meet those changes?

From our vantage point, awareness is at the center of change over the past decade. In 2013, at the advent of online gaming, few operators, players, and legislators were sufficiently aware of the extent of fraud possible through insufficient location security. Today, our solutions and advocacy have led to the adoption of protective measures among industry giants and substantial legislative action. Gradually, there’s been a seismic shift in our response to fraud, and we are proud to have created such a legacy in the industry.

You founded Conscious Gaming as a way to give back to the industry. What are some of the biggest challenges within the responsible gaming space right now and how is the industry responding to those challenges?

Conscious Gaming is focused on one highly specific yet incredibly important problem in the responsible gaming space, which is the lack of nationwide coordination for self-exclusion. We know from research that self-exclusion is highly effective for deterring problem gambling, but without being able to extend networks past state lines, existing systems simply aren’t designed for the modern customer.

Over the last year, compounded by the pandemic and some missteps, we’ve had challenges with creating an ideal blueprint for our solution, but we are just as committed to solving the problem as when we first started. This fall, we brought regulators, operators, and other stakeholders together for a very productive roundtable, and we are so excited to share more on the Conscious Gaming front soon. 

As a technology provider, you have to be ahead of trends in order to meet client needs. What do you see as the next evolution for gaming? How will the technology change?
As we reach maturity, it is always a priority for us to do everything possible to offer the best user experience and deliver the highest levels of compliance integrity.
We are continuously innovating: the business itself has expanded beyond geolocation compliance and into fraud and know your customer (KYC). Having reviewed historical data from the past 10 years, we know that age/ID, geolocation, and fraud are all closely tied together (especially from a UX standpoint). As a result, our next generation of technology focuses on refining the onboarding process for the market and streamlining fraud detection, allowing customers to sign us with ease and ensuring that our clients’ profits are protected from fraud. 

Diversity and inclusion are being prioritized throughout the business community. How have you helped nurture and grow these principles at GeoComply? Where do you see needs for improvement across the industry?
DEI has been central to our values since David and I started GeoComply in 2013, as we sought to build a truly gender-equal organization in a male-dominated industry. Today, we proudly count many women among company leaders. Our feminist commitment has led us to closely collaborate with child protection organizations, and we’ve recently started <Code> Like A Girl Vietnam to put our Saigon office’s resources toward supporting female tech talent.

Going forward, all of us in the industry should pay attention to how equality is applied at every level and in every division. It’s not enough to have 50% of women in an organization if none are in the upper echelons; in the same vein, if even one team is not welcoming to traditionally underrepresented people, then the company cannot call itself diverse. This is the work we currently are undertaking, and across the gaming world, these culture shifts will continue.

After two years not being in-person, what new things interested you the most at G2E 2021? What trends will you be following in 2022?
It was such a delight to meet everyone again at G2E. In-person connections with our clients, stakeholders, and regulators are central to our ethos and paramount to our success. I was so pleased to see how much growth and innovation had taken place in response to the pandemic, but equally how keen our industry was to get back on track for collaboration. For 2022, I will be tracking the developments of the land-based industry launch of cashless gaming through Sightline’s innovations, which in my opinion is a crucial turning point and will be transformative for better tracking and accountability.