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Compliance Updates

Gibraltar sets world-first with new blockchain laws

Niji Ng

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Gibraltar turned out to be the initial jurisdiction in the world this month to put forward a regulatory structure for companies engaged with blockchain technology.

A bench of 17-member local Parliament passed a bill in the month of December that calls for the entire firms using DLT, or blockchain, to store or transmit value possessed by others in the country to procure a licence from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC).

On January 1, the DLT Regulatory Framework came into force and established GFSC as the body that will administer the regulation of DLT in Gibraltar.

GFSC in a statement said, its primary intention is to secure consumers and the esteem of Gibraltar, “when considering any licence application and in its supervision and enforcement functions.”

The GFSC also added that the DLT Regulatory Framework justifies its regulatory and strategic objectives, as laid out in the nine regulatory principles designed for DLT applications.

Nicky Gomez, head of risk and innovation at the GFSC, added: “We are really excited to finally welcome applications from DLT providers; the team expects to be very busy in the coming months, and are looking forward to working on some interesting and innovative ideas with applicants.”

“Working closely and collaboratively with the financial services industry and the Government of Gibraltar has resulted in the GFSC becoming the first regulator to introduce a DLT Regulatory Framework.”

“It is a very encouraging time and we are also looking forward to the challenge.”

The current updates around the regulatory updates in 2018 in Europe will be among the highlight of European Gaming Congress, organized by the team.

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing.
Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Australia

Australian gaming politician brings a change of tack in his proposal regarding slot machines

Niji Ng

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Nick Xenophon, the Australian anti-gaming politician brings a change of tack in his proposal with regard to slot machines.

Thus, South Australian state could encounter alterations in its gaming industry post the elections, as the anti-gambling activist, Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party is all set to win hands down a number of lower house seats. Xenophon announced about him delivering a preponderant anti-pokies policy the coming year which targets the Australian Hotels Association (ASA).

Xenophon’s first legislation was a thorough ban on any slot machine operations in the region, but yesterday the politician and his party put forward a new proposal pushing for a reduction of gaming machines operations in South Australian state, than halting the activity completely.

SA Best’s policy platform for the upcoming elections in March includes legislative gaming proposals to reduce operations in the region. Xenophon stated: “I suggest to you that if SA Best is in a position of power to hold the next government to account, then both Labor and the Liberals will become born-again gambling reformers in a very short amount of time.”

The new proposals recommend deterioration in the number of poker machines in hotels and clubs from around 12,100 to 8,100 by 2023 and introduce a system of AUS$1 maximum bets per spin. Meanwhile, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has already rolled out an advertising campaign to get South Australians to back anyone but Xenophon.

 

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Compliance Updates

Premier Lotteries Ireland adjures the Government to spare National Lottery from threat

Athira A

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The Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI),  which provides online and in-store lottery services in Ireland, called on the country’s government to halt offshore companies that offer betting on draws.

The Irish Sun newspaper reported that PLI met with a number of ministers to discuss the issue in an effort to establish a “legislative solution to prevent damage to the sustainability of the National Lottery and Good Cause Fund”.

Companies that allow customers to bet on the outcome of a draw are spared from making a donation to good causes, but punters are still able to win jackpot prizes.

The newspaper stated that:  “PLI is pushing for a similar law that is in place in the UK whereby bets on the national draw are not allowed.”

A spokeswoman for PLI said: “The National Lottery is concerned at the growth of unregulated, offshore, bet-on-lottery operators over the last 18 months. The parasitic activities of these lotteries are posing a serious threat to the National Lottery, and in turn, the millions raised annually for good causes.”

“We urge the government to take urgent action to protect the National Lottery from this threat. The National Lottery was set up with the express purpose of raising funds for good causes.”

“There is a loophole in the current regulatory environment which allows betting on the outcome of lotteries, and offshore betting companies — underwritten by insurance policies — are exploiting this loophole.”

In response, a spokesman for Ireland’s for Public Expenditure said that it would be “engaging further” with PLI and the country’s gambling regulator “in respect of reviewing the impacts of these online betting websites on the Irish National Lottery and in examining any potential actions that could be considered to address these issues”.

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Compliance Updates

Hawaii’s proposed Loot Box Regulation and the ESA’s response

Niji Ng

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The lawmakers and policy pushers have been too much into debate and discussions about regulating premium loot boxes in paid video games. With regard to this, the U.S. Senator appealed the FTC to investigate this along with the Hawaiian lawmakers who are marching ahead to fix the regulation. Consequently, ESA responded to one of the proposed regulations that a Hawaiian representative came forward with.

As per the GamesIndustry.biz, the ESA spokesperson stated that: ”The Entertainment Software Association has responded to an inquiry about new steps in legislation being taken to address loot boxes and certain lawmakers pushing the ESRB to update the ratings to better reflect the current state of loot boxes and the potentiality of gambling in premium-priced games containing paid loot boxes.” “As an industry, we take our responsibility to consumers very seriously and continually work to create greater awareness and transparency about the wide range of in-game experiences. We strongly believe that the industry’s robust, self-regulatory efforts remain the most effective way to address these important issues, and that system has a proven and long record of doing so. Some consumers and parents may have questions about how loot boxes work, and ESA has demonstrated a commitment to providing information to guide consumers, especially parents, in their purchase decisions.”

This comes soon after a U.S. Senator held a meeting with four members of the Federal Trade Commission requesting that a thorough investigation be made in order to determine if AAA games like Forza Motorsport 7 and Star Wars: Battlefront II that contain premium loot boxes are committing predatory practices. To which the committee for the FTC gave a unanimous “Yes!”.

The Senator also reached out to the ESRB in hopes of getting the self-regulated body to examine adding warnings to the packages of video games that contain loot boxes in order to give parents the necessary information about the potential dangers of loot boxes, or at least information on what it means if a game does contain premium loot boxes.

The ESRB responded much in the same way as the Entertainment Software Association, saying that steps would be taken to look into the issue and that it has done its part in informing parents about the content contained within video games.

However, it may not matter what the ESA or the ESRB say, given that Hawaiian State Representative Chris Lee, has spearheaded bills for legislation at the House and Senate level, both of which will introduce stricter regulation on video games that contain premium loot boxes. The bills would enforce disclosures by publishers and rating boards to inform parents if a game contains randomised rewards or virtual items that can be acquired through randomised rewards for an exchange of real money. Additionally, the bills would prohibit the sale of these games to anyone under the age of 21, as loot boxes in premium games would be classified as gambling.

Prior to the legislative efforts, the ESRB, PEGI and UKIE were given opportunities to address loot boxes, but PEGI and UKIE deferred to the U.K.’s gambling commission while the ESRB adamantly denied that premium loot boxes were classified as gambling.

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