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24.06.2019

EA Claims Loot Boxes are just like Kinder Eggs

The UK Parliament’s Digital, Media and Sports Committee had a hearing towards the end of last week, on the topic of loot boxes in video games. In attendance was a representative from Electronic Arts (EA), who gave a testimony to defend the use of loot boxes, comparing them to “Kinder Eggs.”

Kerry Hopkins, Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs at Electronic Arts was questioned on whether loot boxes were ethical, she claimed that at EA, they do not call them loot boxes. “We look at them as surprise mechanics. People enjoy surprises… it’s been a part of toys for years, whether it is Kinder Eggs or Hatchimals. We do think the way we’ve implemented these kinds of mechanics is quite ethical and quite fun. They aren’t gambling and we disagree that there’s evidence that shows they lead to gambling.”

The UK Gambling Commission said earlier this year, that they do not consider loot boxes as a form of gambling. However
, other European countries, such as Belgium and the Netherlands have classified them under gambling laws and have taken action against them. Hopskins stands by EA’s beliefs that loot boxes are not a gambling modality, but will continue to comply with the rulings of these countries.

Kerry Hopkins followed on to say: “We agree with the UK Gambling Commission, the Australian gambling commission and many other gambling commissions that they are not gambling, and we also disagree that there is evidence that shows it leads to gambling. Instead, we think it is like many other products that people enjoy in a very healthy way. They like the element of surprise.”


22.06.2019

Platinum Gaming Fined £1.8 Million by UKGC

The UK Gambling Commission, has revealed that Platinum Gaming will be paying a fine of £1.8 million after they were found to be failing to identify gambling harm and prevent money laundering. This is now the second fine issued in the last couple of weeks, with Gamesys receiving a similar punishment.

The investigation was carried out by the gambling regulator after reports came to their attention that a known fraudster had spent more than £700,000 in stolen money, in Platinum Gaming casinos. It was revealed that this customers deposits were so high, regardless of the fact of losing huge sums – that the operator should have considered refusing them.

It was also found that the operator had breached a number of anti-money laundering regulations, including a failure to make adequate enquiries about the source of the funds this customer used to gamble.

A settlement was made between UKGC and Platinum Gaming, which stated that the operator will return the money that was spent by the fraudster, to the victims along with a £1.1 million financial penalty. The money will be spent to work towards the national strategy to reduce gambling harm
.

Richard Watson, the Gambling Commissions Executive Director said: “There were weaknesses in Platinum Gaming’s systems and as a consequence, more than half a million pounds of stolen money flowed through the business. This is not acceptable and I would urge all operators to carefully read this case and learn lessons so they don’t make the same mistakes.”

“This is yet another example of us taking firm action against online operators who fail to protect consumers or implement effective safeguards against money laundering. We must see the industry stepping up and providing consumers in Great Britain with the safest and fairest gambling market in the world. Where we continue to see failings, we will continue to take action.”


21.06.2019

Overdue Sports Betting Regulation in Brazil

Sports Betting regulation has been the topic of discussion for Brazilian lawmakers, however these are early talks – with decisions being made on the basic how and when. Due to the lack of regulation, companies are doing their best to capitalise on the market. However, with little regulation in place – there are too many operators fighting for the same turf, with few seeing the expected growth.

Along with the operators struggling to find the success, the country itself is losing out on the financial benefits of a regulated market. Lawmakers are actively pushing for new regulations to be enforced, allowing for the market to be taxed and for the economy to benefit
.

The local media outlet, Terra Noticias reported that “with new regulations, it’s possible that sports betting gets officially accepted by the government. That would bring security both for gamblers and investors, both local and foreign. That way, a big opportunity will open for those set to take advantage of the market”


19.06.2019

Betting Firms to be Taxed for NHS Addiction Treatment

Betting operators could be taxed to pay for a new gambling addiction treatment, which is being provided by the NHS in the UK. The new NHS scheme is set to provide help to children and young people who have suffered from the effects of gambling addiction, as it’s said that more than 55,000 children and young people have problems.

Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, said that the tax amount will be a fraction of the amount operators spend on marketing and advertising.

The service will first be launched as the National Problem Gambling Clinic, which will be opened in London and open for 13 to 25 year olds up and down the country. Up to 14 more clinics are expected to be opened in the following months, including Leeds, Manchester and Sunderland as the first confirmed locations
.

NHS England said there is a forever growing concern that online gaming sites and targeted advertisements are adding to the addition problem.

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