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08.08.2019

Dutch Regulator Fines Bwin €350,000

The Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has announced that they have issued a €350,000 fine to Electraworks Limited. The operator is based in Gibraltar and are responsible for the casino “bwin.com”.

Bwin.com has been found to be not only accepting, but targetting Dutch players without the required licence. The local operator, KSA has been investigating and found the casino to be offering sports betting as well as poker, blackjack and roulette. Under the current Gambling Act, it's not possible to obtain a licence in the country and with the actions of Bwin, its unlikely they will be considered in the future.

The regulator has kept themselves busy in the last few weeks, as they have been going round affiliate marketing websites and having gambling ads removed. The total tally of affected websites is 23, with more on the horizon. It’s said that this will become part of a routine from a local watchdog
.

In total, they had analysed 44 websites as part of the sample study and online gambling advertising appeared on 26 of them. Twenty of the sites stopped the illegal activity after the regulator had drawn attention to it, however a stubborn three rebelled and only removed the adverts after they were threatened with a fine. KSA has said that the remaining three websites are undergoing further investigation.


06.08.2019

Gaming Loot Box Required to Disclose Odds

Technical company giants, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are working on new policies that would require for game companies to disclose the odds on loot boxes. The announcement was made at the US Federal Trader Commission, in the Game Workshop which was discussing loot boxes in the industry.

Michael Warnecke, Chief Counsel of Entertainment Software Association (ESA), said that the changes are being discussed after recapping the previous attempts to address popular concerns around loot boxes. “These required disclosures will also apply to game updates if the update adds new loot box features. The precise timing of this disclosure requirement is still being worked out, but the console makers are targeting 2020 for the implementation of the policy.”

The Association listed the companies that have said they are committed to implementing these changes, including: Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco Entertainment, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Nintendo, Song Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Wizards of the Coast
.

Michael Warnecke continued - “I’m happy to announce this morning that Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony indicated to ESA a commitment to new platform policies with respect to the use of paid loot boxes in games developed for their platform. Specifically, this would apply to new games and game updates that add loot box features. And it would require the disclosure of the relative rarity or probabilities of obtaining randomised virtual items in games that are available on their platforms.”

He added that a large number of the leading video game publishers also joined the efforts to implement similar measures at a publisher level to provide enhanced loot box information to allow them to make informed purchase decisions. “The major console makers are committing to new platform policies that will require paid loot boxes in games developed for their platforms to disclose information on the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomised virtual items.”


04.08.2019

UK Operators Establishing a Responsible Gaming Committee

Five of the largest betting and gambling companies in the UK have announced that they are planning to create a new committee, with the intention of giving their internal insight into the best ways to spend government funding to create a safer gambling industry. The committee features Bet365, Sky Bet, William Hill, GVC and Flutter Entertainment, the owners of Paddy Power and Betfair.

A spokesperson for the five companies commented on the announcement - “We are absolutely committed to providing further funding toward treatment and other responsible gambling initiatives, and we believe the committee will identify and recommend how best to deploy effectively this investment. We believe this is an important step towards creating a safer gambling environment. We look forward to reviewing and implementing its recommendations later this year.”

The UK operators revealed that they have approached Lord Chadlington, a vocal campaigner on safe gambling, who in turn released the following statement - “The committee will consult widely to formulate its recommendations taking account in particular of the views of government, regulators, the third sector, gambling operators and those with lived experience. I am happy to accept the invitation to chair this committee particularly as the five gambling companies show commitment to implementing any reasonable recommendations it may make. I will announce the membership of the committee by mid-September.”

Previously, the companies announced they would be investing £67 million a year to take action
. They money was said to be funding treatment for those who have gambling problems in order to get their lives back on track. The new committee have said to expect further announcements throughout September.


03.08.2019

Gambling with Credit Cards to be Banned

New Zealand will be following in the footsteps of Australia’s banking company Macquarie, after they decided to stop their accountholders from using bank-issued credit cards to gamble. The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is considering a complete ban on credit cards.

Due to regulation, players from New Zealand have only been able to gamble through a system called TAB, which is also known as the New Zealand Racing Board and the New Zealand-run Lotto. However, recently this has been threatened by SkyCity Entertainment which announced that they will be launching an online casino.

The idea behind the credit card ban, is much like the Australian bank’s – to prevent locals from spending too much on unregulated sites. However it’s been argued that the best way to do so, would be to instead regulate the activity rather than to ban the use of credit cards entirely
.

Elsewhere in the world, the UK has been considering banning credit cards for a while. The UKGC has most recently announced that the will be holding a three-month consultation period beginning next month, with the intent to determine whether or not credit cards should be allowed when gambling.

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