Cameron Conn Interview with SBC Americas – Insights into Regulatory, Licensing and Compliance Technology

A wide range of topics are covered in this interview with OneComply’s Founder and CEO Cameron Conn on the regulatory, licensing and compliance landscape for gaming and how technology is making a significant impact.

The full interview can be viewed here:

The follow is the edited text transcript of the SBC Americas interview:

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

Hello, everyone. I’m Jessica Wellman, editor of SBC Americas. And I am so relieved to be talking to the CEO of OneComply, Cameron Conn today, because I’ve been getting so many questions about compliance and regulation and I feel like you are the person who has the answers.

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Thank you, I’m excited to be here as well. And thank you SBC for putting on this conversation.

Traditionally when we look at what the licensing process is specifically in the North American market, it is very repetitive, it’s very redundant and it’s a lot of exposure to data. And then traditionally all that data is kind of tossed aside until we need to get licensed again.

What OneComply does is we centralize that information. We allow our clients to take over 200,000 data points about their key individuals, company and their occupation uses for their businesses. And we centralize it and we allow them to make decisions about it such as renewals of their business and create licensing applications in seconds, instead of hours and weeks and months. But it’s also about the centralization of documents. When we look at what the licensing process entails, how many companies have data in a Dropbox here, and then they share some things through email, and then they have this on a personal file.

It’s that ability to centralize and protect that information, making it available and then using that data to inform our clients of whether it’s an expiring licensing coming up or a material change. It’s compliance task, providing accountability by using the data points that are traditionally just tossed away, both by the regulator and the and the licensee.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

Well, I think you’ve touched on something I know I heard a lot about at G2E which was scalability. But you were due to me as well. Were at G2E as well, were there common kind of themes and conversations you were having over the week?

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Yeah, and it’s been the conversations that we were having for the last couple of years, especially with the repeal of PASPA, around scalability and how do we get to market, how do we manage this process? And so it’s all of our clients saying, how do we get in the market quicker? We looked at a state like Ohio.

They gave you a month, and I think there was a lot of companies that said, Oh my God, a month. How are we going to do this in a month? You know, because of our product, I think we had 12 clients who applied for Ohio and they did it in the first week because that data was readily available. So removing a lot of that stress.

 I think what was also interesting was to see how many regulators came by and spoke to us at G2E.

Traditionally, we’ve always known that OneComply as a by-product of what we do, has a lot of value to regulators. When I talked about the centralization of all of this data and these documents, now nine regulatory boards are actually coming into OneComply to access information. So now we also have one state that accept initial submissions. So they sign their documents, they have fingerprint cards, they’ve centralized everything in OneComply and allowed those regulators to access those documents, on initial submission.

We also have another eight jurisdictions that are accessing through OneComply all of those follow up documents that happen post that submission. So we knew it was a by-product to regulators, but now we’re seeing that regulators want better solutions. We’ve seen some regulators digitize a process, but to grabbing off something off the shelf that isn’t about gaming and that’s what makes gaming so amazing, is it’s so difficult and it involves so many things.

And to see that regulators are reaching out to us and saying we need solutions. It’s not just about the applicant facing, it’s the regulator facing as well. Always been on our roadmap, but now this is certainly accelerating that roadmap.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

So was it kind of intentional from the beginning with regulators that they would eventually be part of your strategy? I mean, I think it’s very obvious that OneComply can help a business succeed, and that’s kind of the main intent of it. But has assisting regulators been something you kind of knew from the inception was going to happen as the company grew?

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Having a business model that banks on that we’re going to get the regulators to adopt, is not always the best way to go to market. We wanted to build up a reputation of providing really great service, showing efficiency, showing data protection, and knowing that if we did a good job, the proof would be in the pudding.

And I think we’ve seen that by these regulators adopting OneComplyto be able to access information. You know, we knew that there is an opportunity. We know that there was always going to be an opportunity, that if you centralized data, you would have the ability for regulators to all be pulling off data from the symbiotic database and knowing that there was a tremendous amount of risk in the market of knowing that the state of Colorado may have slightly different data than the state of Ohio.

And now we’re bifurcating this data, we’re separating it out. And so we knew that if we did a very good job with our client, it’s going to give us the ability to say, well, now let’s just put a meter on the other side of it and allow that data access from the regulatory side, allow that communication, just like our teams use OneComply to communicate internally on compliance tasks.

Why shouldn’t that same sense of communication happen between a regulator, whether it’s material change or shipping notification, or even an upcoming audit? Centralize that, have it in one secure system so we don’t have information in email. We have information that’s really the entire connective tissue between applicant and regulator, information that’s all contained within one system.

And that’s what we’ll be going to market with in Q2 of next year.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

You mentioned Ohio earlier and kind of a short window, but I know that they were using kind of different approaches to getting through all this regulatory paperwork. They were doing compartmentalized pieces of data versus having to resubmit the whole thing. Have you seen more regulators kind of be open to ways of licensing that aren’t just submit this 300 page document? You know, scan it as a PDF?

Are there solutions that you’re seeing regulators becoming more open to?

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Yeah, I think they are actually more open. I mean, especially because the market is scaling and the workload coming out of COVID, with people working from home, stacks of paper, just don’t work and it’s really not secure. So we are seeing the adoption of new products. I heard from one of our clients, which was raving about what Ohio did, was the submission of their minimum control standards and they were actually doing it digitally.

And I think what we’ve seen is that’s a theme within regulators is they have this portion is digital, but the rest isn’t. And that’s because once again, nothing has been designed in specifically for gaming. So you can go to a state like Virginia, which has their own online portal, and it does some applications and it doesn’t do every application.

And Nevada does occupational licenses, but it doesn’t do business licenses. So there are all these partial systems. And I think that’s the opportunity of saying, you should use one system and it shouldn’t just be for licensing, because all of the data submitted for licensing is all the connected data tissue that is for operational compliance. And so I think that’s where the opportunity is.

I think there is an appetite now for the industry of saying, well, let’s just go all in and let’s have something that’s a designed specifically for the industry.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

Having covered the regular regulations of different states and how they’ve gone online, it kind of feels like some of them almost just throw something in to be different from another state.

For the idea of like a fully centralized system, is there hope that that maybe that’s going to happen?

Cameron Conn, OneComply

You know, I think as each company is different and each company has their own kind of north star of what they focus on, regulators are no different. And I think you’ve seen states like Indiana. In the end, it was the first state to say, we want to list of every crypto account and every sports betting account that you have for key individuals.

That was something that was really unique. We were always providing banking information, but to specifically call that out and I think every time I hear a regulator talking about going to market and they say, do you want to be the toughest? It’s already pretty tough, but I think they want to be the best and they should want to be the best and they should want to protect their state.

But I think you can have 99% of the requested information be the same. But I shouldn’t have to answer that 99% every time. Allow that opportunity to have a 1% to be what’s different for Indiana and this what’s different for Michigan for providing it in very bite sized requested information. And so I think we can see that centralized request of information with that ability to say these are important to this specific state.

And we see that. We already see them with a lot of states. They’ve all adopted the MJ personal disclosure that’s multijurisdictional, and then they add their own supplemental. “Hey, thanks for doing this massive amount of work but here’s the ten questions that are important to us that are outside of that.” So I think there is that ability and then that’s really what we’re working towards.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

We’ve talked a lot about regulators. Let’s talk a bit about businesses. What have been the primary concerns with businesses as we’re getting into our 33rd and 34th regulatory body that they have to keep track of?

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Yeah, I think, you know, we’ve seen failings that have already happened where people have failed to get renewals. And I think on the surface we kind of look at it and going, oh my God, they didn’t renew. How could you not, you know, but that’s really just a  headline. I think below that is really about material change.

It’s about tracking that change in your business. You have more startups than we’ve ever had in gaming, and a lot of them are new to gaming and they don’t understand that. Once you get that license, you’re on the clock. You’re on the clock for the changes that happen naturally within your business. Certainly with a company that’s scaling, did you raise money? Did your cap table change? Did you hire more people?

And I think there is a lot of people that came into the market that said “we got a license, we crossed the finish line.” And that’s just the starting line. You now are carrying that license like luggage with you. And I think that’s been a big thing.

And just saying our license, we realized that we now have this onus of monthly reporting, quarterly reporting, annual filings, all of these things that now have to happen. And so I think that’s a big realization, is just staying on top of it and renewals come up quicker than you think. And so it’s about taking this data and engaging with it and making it living and breathing.

And that’s what we do with OneComply. If you go in and you update your cap table, that’s av material change and based on these nine licenses you have, you now have a compliance ticket that you need to complete and make sure you  stay onside. So I think that’s the big thing. We still have speed to market.

We still have more companies that are starting up that need to go get licensed in 12 jurisdictions in one year. But it’s about how do we make this operational? How do we make it sustainable for our business?

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

It’s amazing how far we’ve come in that you can offer a product like this because I’ve had conversations even recently where companies have said, “well, we just, you know, used an enterprise platform not designed for gaming like JIRA to keep track of things.” You’ve got the buy in from the industry or is there still some resistance that maybe this isn’t going to satisfy what regulators want?

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Yeah, I mean, I think we do have buy in from the industry for sure, which is which is great. I think there’s still not the full picture. I think we’ve always looked at compliance in the gaming industry as being bifurcated and as having silos. And so you look at AML, AML sits in one bucket and then you have legal and then you have finance and then you have HR.

And then you have dedicated licensing teams. They really should all be one from an optics standpoint because they have all the same impact to your license. And so I think that’s what is a little bit different is getting the industry to realize that every single one of your employees has impact on compliance, which means you should have visibility on every single employee in regards to their impact to your licensing.

So I think it’s kind of painting that bigger picture where someone may look at us as a licensing tool. We’re not just licensing, we are ongoing compliance and being able to tell that story. Because we’ve always just thrown full-time employees at it. Now it’s “oh my God, we have all these reporting requirements. Let’s hire someone who just looks at this and puts this data in a spreadsheet. I think we can’t continue to just throw FTEs at it.

There’s too much intellectual property that’s at risk because any time there’s turnover, the “skeletons” going with that person that just left since they know where the files are and what they need to do, every single month. We need a little bit of risk mitigation. And by centralizing that information, providing that accountability in one system allows you to be protected.

Even if someone leave your organization.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

I think you have to be so mindful of what comes from being non-compliant, specifically with fines. I think everybody is, especially in markets like Ontario, seeing a lot of fines that maybe you aren’t seen as commonly in the U.S. But all these jurisdictions are leveraging fines on people for noncompliance. What do companies need to do to make sure that they don’t get fined besides “just be compliant.”

Cameron Conn, OneComply

If I had one sentence for that, it certainly it would be a lot easier. And what it showcases is what gaming is. I my big thing when it comes to fines, I think about the executive team that gets the letter from the regulator and how many times that person reads that letter and goes, “I didn’t know that we have this problem.”

And I think that’s the problem. The problem is that there’s not optics, there’s not this filtering of information that allows executive teams, director teams, management teams to know what is coming down the line or know where there is potential risk. You know, we talk about Ontario. Those are marketing standards. You know, that is you’ve put out an ad that you shouldn’t have put out.

So I think there has to be a sense of championship from an executive level and that is constantly beating down that tree, saying, “compliance, compliance, compliance.” But it’s utilizing systems of saying, “I want updates on these things, I want people going into a system that’s assigning accountability.” It shouldn’t live on a spreadsheet.

I was a part of compliance and audit organizations where I’d be part of a casino property.

We would sit down every single month and say, what’s going on in compliance? And it would be on a piece of paper that someone built in Word and we would all scribble down notes. Then we would all leave and there was no optics to really what was discussed, who was providing accountability.

And those things are now built into OneComply where our clients are opening up, OneComply saying, “show me everything that’s outstanding, show me everything that’s coming up in the next six months and who’s assigned to it.” And knowing that you’re going to get this email every single week that says, “hey, this is what’s going on.”

You know, that’s one of the things that we know. You have to understand your regs. You have to understand what’s being required.

And it’s not cookie cutter. You can’t say, “well, this is what we’ve always done in New Jersey and let’s just go take it to the next state” because those regs are going to be different. Like we said, you know, these regulators want to be unique snowflakes and you have to be prepared for that. It’s not cookie cutter state to state.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

You talked about how you handle the licensing and that’s kind of step one. It’s great to have solutions like OneComply for making sure your key people are vetted, but for people considering you as a solution, what else is there beyond just making sure that you get your core licensing in place? And what benefits can OneComply offer them? Give me the sales pitch now.

Cameron Conn, OneComply

For a sales pitch, how about this I’ll ask you a question. When does your passport expire?

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

I just got it this year. So 2032.

Cameron Conn, OneComply

Well, thanks for ruining my example!

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

I mean, I wouldn’t know if it weren’t for the fact that I specifically had to renew it. To your point, it expired before I renewed at the last one.

Cameron Conn, OneComply

And so there you go. Noncompliance. It’s all of those small data points that we engage with. And that’s not just on your key people’s side, but that’s also on your business side, that’s on your occupation user side, that’s on your secretary of state side. It’s about taking this data that we traditionally only look at when we need to copy and paste to another application and making it actionable.

It’s pulling all of that and engaging with our clients from a key person side to say, “you haven’t onboarded your financial statements, your bank statements or anything like that.” So it’s the sense of preparedness for that next decision that your company is going to make. But once again, it’s now that you have your license, how do we protect it?

And so the first thing that we do with our clients is saying, what do you need to do every month for every license you have? Let’s build that in for the entire year. Okay. What do you need to do every quarter? What do you need to do every year? And you really build out that accountability for the entire calendar year for where our clients are going to go.

We know that our standard reporting schedule is built into OneComply. We know we have accountability. We know that if something isn’t done, we’re going to be notified that it wasn’t done. That’s where the operational side of it comes in. Unique things that we do. We have a really great partnership with a company called PrintScan and so you can actually digitize your fingerprints with PrintScan and then order them directly in OneComply.

So when our clients need to do their submission, they can order fingerprints directly from PrintScan and that also creates a compliance ticket. Once again, it’s always so hectic when it comes down to licensing where someone says, “Did you get your fingerprints? Can we order our fingerprints? Where are our fingerprints?” With OneComply, I know I order for this person on this day and know its status.

It’s just about providing accountability and optics, not just for licensing, but for the ongoing impact of operations.

Jessica Wellman, SBC Americas

I think it’s so important, people get behind the eight ball on regulatory and compliance stuff and just making sure that you’re staying ahead of things makes your life so much easier as companies are growing and scaling. I appreciate the insights so much and I thank you for your time. And it was a really great conversation.

Cameron Conn, OneComply

My pleasure. Thanks so much. And thank you to SBC.