The Grand Theft Auto franchise is one of the most successful in the gaming industry, with millions of players constantly waiting on new updates and features to keep themselves entertained. The most recent game in the series, GTA V which was released in September 2013 reached record sales, reaching $1 billion in the first couple of days. Shortly after the release of the game, the online feature took over the gaming scene.
The most recent update to the online experience of GTA has caused controversy, with an online casino being added into the mix. There are already casinos in the offline version of the game and fans have been calling for this to be implemented into the online version
The game will allow for their players to both own and operate the casino, as well as gamble with in-game funds which can be purchased with real money. There are some concerns around underage gambling, although the game is marketed as an 18+, there are definitely a number of younger players who have access to the title. Additionally, the act of gambling is restricted or even banned in certain countries, which regulators are worried that users will be able to gain access to an act that’s usually unavailable.
An investigation carried out by the regulator revealed that the operator had failed to carry out customer Enhanced Due Diligence, involving checks for the source of the funds and the source of the customer’s wealth. The investigation was said to have involved 33 cases of players, where such checks were not made. Casino 36 also failed to ensure a sufficient customer interaction was taking place, when the customers were showing signs of suffering gambling harm
UKGC’s Executive Director, Richard Watson commented: “As a result of Casino 36’s failings stolen money could have flowed unchecked through their casino and vulnerable customers were placed at risk of harm. This is simply not acceptable. Operators have to understand their customer base. This can only be achieved if they know their customers and ask the right questions to meet both their anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations.”
The industry will be regulated by the Lottery Commission and is expected to bring $7.5 million in 2021 and predicted to rise to over $13 million by 2023. Players will be able to bet on both professional sports and most of the Division 1 college sport games. Along with this, the bill allows for mobile betting and retail gambling at 10 locations, however this has not been clarified on when or where this will happen.
The State’s Governor said: “We can do it with a lot of confidence because it’s being done responsibly, and it’s being done with an organisation here at the lottery that just knows what they’re doing. They know how to get this stuff on the ground
In light of the new development, the American Gaming Association (AGA) released the following statement: “The American Gaming Association applauds Governor Sununu and the New Hampshire legislature for legalising sports betting, becoming the third previously non-gaming jurisdiction, after Tennessee and Washington, D.C., to authorise wagering on sports. New Hampshirites will now have a convenient, secure alternative to the dangerous illegal market that has operated in the state and across the country for decades.”
The ASA released a statement saying “While phobias are very real for those who suffer from them, it would be fair to say that almost any theme or imagery in an ad has the potential to cause a phobic reaction in some. As such, and due to the very individual nature of phobias, it is impossible to take all of these into account when creating ads. Touching on a theme that is uncomfortable for a section of the audience with a particular sensitivity is almost inevitable. Bearing this in mind, the ASA is very unlikely to uphold against ads solely on the basis that there’s a snake, spider or clown featured in them
The group then listed a number of phobia’s that are best to stay away from featuring in adverts: spiders (arachnophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), sharks (galeophobia), birds (ornithophobia), insects (entomophobia), needles (trypanophobia), vomiting (emetophobia), clowns (colrophobia) and the strangest of the bunch - holes (trypophobia).
The Advertising Standard Authority statement continued with: “What is far more important is the copy as a whole and whether it is likely to cause offence, fear or distress – even to those who don’t suffer from a phobia and who wouldn’t ordinarily have an adverse reaction to an image in and of itself (rules 4.1 & 4.2). As always, context is key. The ASA isn’t likely to stop a horror movie featuring their iconic clown in their ads; provided that it isn’t menacing, overtly threatening or suggestive of danger then it’s likely to be acceptable, even in an untargeted medium”
The statement concluded with “menacing grins, glowing red eyes and blood spattered faces along with stitched up skin – particularly coupled with ‘screaming won’t help’ written in blood is unlikely to be suitable for display in an untargeted medium.”
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