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05.07.2019

New South Wales Working on Responsible Gambling

Responsible and safe gambling is the subject of conversation for many countries around the world and Australia is no exception. Last week, we saw one of the country’s banks withdrawing their credit cards from being used to purchase anything gambling related. This week, New South Wales has announced that they are developing new initiatives and have already invested around $800,000 in player protection measures.

The funding for the new player protection measures saw a sum of $100,000 sent to the University of Sydney’s Gambling Treatment and Research Clinic. The clinic will spend the funding developing a website which will be focused around self-exclusion from gambling venues. Currently the self-exclusion will be limited to in-person venues and will not initially have support for online casinos
.

Natalie Wright, the director of the New South Wales Responsible Gambling segment said: “Just as technology is changing the way people gamble with the rise of online and app-based betting, it is also driving exciting new initiatives to support people to gamble responsibly. By funding programs and research projects like these, we will further develop and underpin the evidence base for responsible gambling policy and programs.”


03.07.2019

Swedish Regulator Continues to Fine Gambling Operators

Gambling operators are finding it hard to stick to the rules set out by the Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen. The countries regulator has once again stuck to their guns and enforced the rules these operators have agreed to follow, by issuing further fines to two gambling companies. Betsson and SkillOnNet have been the latest operators with targets on their backs after they were found to have violated Sweden’s bonus offer rules.

The regulator announced the fines to the public via their website, posting a notice stating that Betsson’s NGG Nordic Ltd has received a warning and will be fined $2 million for offering “weekly surprises, cash prize draws, travel and free spins, bonuses, rewards and free games to loyal players.” They added that NGG Nordic has been offering the activity for 4 months, regardless of the fact the new gaming laws came into action 6 months ago, meaning the promotion started after the law was enforced.

In SkillOnNet’s case, the operator was offering “daily bonuses, monthly rewards, free spins, cashback and VIP packages” along with hosting an online lottery, which it does not have a license for. The operator will receive a warning and a fine of $1.5 million
.

One of SkillOnNet’s brands, PlayOJO has recently announced they will be altering the way they advertise in order to provide better protection to underage potential gamblers. They continued to state that they would no longer advertise between 4-9 PM, but the change was too little too late to avoid the fines.

Betsson took a different approach to the fine, releasing a statement saying they do not agree with the decision and they “supports NGG Nordic Ltd’s view that their customer offerings have been in line with what is permitted under the new gambling legislation. The regulation on bonuses is vague and has been shown to leave much room for different interpretations.”


01.07.2019

UK Minister of Parliament on Loot Boxes

Whether video game loot boxes are considered gambling or not has been an ongoing debate for some time now, with many countries having already made their decisions. The Netherlands and Belgium have already enforced bans on loot boxes, after deeming them as gambling, whereas France and New Zealand have taken an opposing stance. In the states, lawmakers are on the fence with many arguing that they should be banned from any games that could be targeted to teens, which doesn’t narrow it down much.

Most recently, a member from the UK’s parliament, has joined the conversation, making it clear that she doesn't believe loot boxes are a form of gambling. She said that it would be a mistake for Parliament to try and introduce regulations on loot boxes, until they are properly educated on the subject.

A further statement was released from UK’s parliament saying
: “The fact that other European countries have taken action I think is much more to do with them taking their offline gambling laws online, and our gambling laws are different. I would also contest the assumption that loot boxes are gambling. I don’t think the evidence I’ve read from your committee’s hearings would support that assumption either. Loot boxes are a means of people purchasing items, skins, to enhance their gaming experience, not through an expectation of an additional financial reward. And also, more importantly, they can’t be traded offline for money. So I think there are big differences, and I don’t think really it is true to say loot boxes are gambling.”


30.06.2019

Australian Bank Ban Credit Card Gambling Purchases

The banking company Macquarie has announced that they will no longer allow for its bank-issued credit cards to be used for making gambling or lottery transactions, in an effort to protect consumers. Although this still leaves a number of payment options to players, this prevents players from gambling with money they do not own.

Australia has been pushing for more control over the gambling industry, shown through the number of features they have been implementing. Advertising has been controlled, preventing certain content and phrases from being used in gambling ads, casinos are now required to report on activity and a new self-exclusion policy is in the works. The move by Macquarie appears to be part of this movement, however the company is claiming they made the decision on their own.

There will be some limitations to the ban, for instances where lottery tickets are purchased from
a newsagent, with a terminal that is not classified as a gambling merchant, such transactions will not be banned. Another example, would be buying food and drinks at a casino – Macquarie explains that “There will be other instances where we are unable to block the authorisation of gambling or lottery related transactions. You’ll continue to be responsible for these, and all charges on your card.”

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