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Belgium launches criminal investigation on EA’s FIFA loot boxes

Niji Ng

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Belgium launches criminal investigation on EA’s FIFA loot boxes
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The Belgian government has initiated a criminal probe into the lootboxes bundled with Electronic Art’s (EA) FIFA game. The government had earlier declared loot boxes to be a form of gambling. However, EA, as the publisher of FIFA, has refused to modify the randomised card pack loot boxes in accordance with the country’s gambling laws, effectively triggering the probe.

Here is a short history of what led to this development. Back in April, Belgium’s Gaming Commission determined that loot boxes found in FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were an “illegal game of chance,” and thus subject to Belgian gambling laws. Failure to adhere to these laws – which include ensuring that minors are unable to access the gambling elements within a game – is illegal.

Following the ruling, Blizzard, Valve, and 2K Games all elected to disable loot boxes in their games in Belgium. EA, however, has done nothing, and as a result (according to Belgium publication Metro, via Google Translate) is now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Brussels public prosecutor’s office. If it decides to prosecute, the case will go to court.

The Belgium government’s Gaming Commission considers loot boxes to be a game of chance because players do not know exactly which items a box may contain when purchasing it.

EA, however, says otherwise, stating in April that its games were “developed and implemented ethically and lawfully around the world” and that it did not agree that its games could “be considered as any form of gambling.”

This, said EA CEO Andrew Wilson in May, is because “players always receive a specified number of items in each pack” and because it doesn’t “provide or authorise any way to cash out or sell items or virtual currency for real money.”

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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Compliance Updates

William Hill is going to appeal Dutch regulator’s heavy fine

Niji Ng

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William Hill is going to appeal Dutch regulator’s heavy fine
Photo Source: independent.co.uk
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William Hill plc. has decided to file an appeal against the heavy fine of 300,000 euros slapped by the Dutch gaming regulator, Kansspelautoriteit. The regulator imposed the penalty on the company for offering online games of chance to Dutch consumers. The website provides Dutch translation facilities and using the Dutch bank account-linked iDEAL online payment solution.

Online gambling is presently banned in the Netherlands. The country does not offer licenses to any company either. The issue of gambling license has been being discussed in the Dutch parliament for some time now.

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Compliance Updates

Norway court orders against GiG in Euro TV AS case

Niji Ng

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Norway court orders against GiG in Euro TV AS case
Photo Source: domstol.no
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Bergen City Court in Norway has ordered Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) to transfer 3.4 million shares to Euro TV AS on the basis of an alleged oral agreement between the parties 30 April 2015. The order comes as a blow to the Malta-based gaming technology company.

GiG is assessing the order and will make a decision on whether appeal the order or not.

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Compliance Updates

BDO Malta becomes MGA-approved service provider for gaming licencees

Niji Ng

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BDO Malta becomes MGA-approved service provider for gaming licencees
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BDO, a Malta-based corporate services firm specializing in accounting, auditing and tax consultation verticals, has obtained the approval by the Malta Gaming Authority to act as an official Service Provider for System and Compliance Auditing. The  required System and Compliance Auditing is mandatory for gaming operators in Malta as per the regulations.

BDO and its Technology Advisory and Assurance team obtained the approval after passing through a review based on specific criteria as laid out by the Authority. BDO have a tech team comprising CISA qualified individuals with years of experience in servicing the gaming industry.

BDO assisted a number of gaming companies over the years with their licencing application, policies and procedures, renewals, Key Official roles and ongoing matters pertaining to their licence conditions Mark Attard CEO and Partner of BDO Malta said:

“We are delighted that BDO Malta have been given the authorisation to act as Service Providers. This is undoubtedly another seal of approval by the regulator of the world’s iGaming capital and the latest offering we are adding to our service portfolio, as part of our growing Technology Advisory and Assurance service line. We are now able to offer our gaming clients a fully integrated service, with them safe in the knowledge that we adhere to the highest standards as laid down by the Malta Gaming Authority. BDO Malta and all of our team is committed to ensuring that Malta retains and evolves further, its reputation as a jurisdiction of excellence for iGaming and associated industries.”

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