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Compliance Updates

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

MGA: Licence Cancelled for Bet Service Group Limited

George Miller

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MGA: Licence Cancelled for Bet Service Group Limited
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The Malta Gaming Authority is hereby notifying that Bet Service Group Limited, gaming licence MGA/B2C/344/2016, has been cancelled as of 18 February, 2019.

Bet Service Group Limited has thus been directed to proceed with the cancellation process of the Authorisation, and to suspend all gaming operations with immediate effect.  In addition, a notice on the Authorised Person’s website/s is to be displayed informing all players that the Authorisation has been cancelled.

Furthermore, the Authority hereby notifies that any websites operated by Bet Service Group Limited or associated with Bet Service Group Limited, and which make reference to the Authority or the above-quoted licence is not approved to be operational by the Authority. Due to the cancellation of the licence, Bet Service Group Limited is therefore not authorised to continue conducting gaming by means of distance communications under an Authority licence.

Players who deem to have any outstanding payments due to them on the mentioned licence are to send an email to support.mga@mga.org.mt and should submit the following information:

  1. Name and Surname;
  2. Registered Address;
  3. Date of Birth;
  4. Copy of Passport or ID Card;
  5. Telephone Number;
  6. Description of Product i.e. casino or sportsbook;
  7. User Name; and
  8. Screenshot of Balance or any pending Cash Outs (if not available an estimated balance is to be submitted).

The Authority notifies that no further information shall be released at this stage in order not to compromise any investigations that may need to be performed by the Authority and/or any other competent authority.

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Compliance Updates

Breaking News: Dutch Senate votes to legalize online gambling

Zoltan Tundik

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The Netherlands Senate voted today in favor of the country’s long-awaited online gaming legislation, which was approved by the House of Representatives back in 2014.

The new regulatory regime will allow operators to secure online sports betting and casino gaming licenses to serve Dutch consumers, subject to secondary legislation that is yet to be submitted for European Commission approval.

Today, the Dutch Senate voted in favor of legislation to legalize internet-based gambling, clearing the way for foreign and Dutch firms to apply for licenses.

On Monday, the Financieele Dagblad said some 300 companies have expressed interest in running a gambling website in the Netherlands and about 50 are expected to make a formal application for a license when they are up for grabs next year. Tuesday’s vote comes two years after the lower house voted in favor of allowing third parties to legally offer online gambling.

Holland Casino is the Netherlands’ only state-regulated gambling establishment but foreign firms widely flout the ban and continue to target Dutch punters.

The two Christian parties in the ruling coalition voted against the legislation. They claim allowing more companies to offer online betting will lead to more problems with addiction.

Source: DutchNews.nl

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Bangladesh bans online gambling websites

Niji Ng

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Bangladesh bans online gambling websites
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Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has asked all the internet gateway providers and Telecom department to run an internet safety solution programme to block online gambling websites. BTRC is believed to have received an instruction to effect the same from the country’s government.

The telecom regulator has sent the order to block the websites so that these websites will not be accessible in Bangladesh again.

“It might take few more hours to block all the sites completely as blocking any site is so technical,” said Md Emdadul Hoque, general secretary of Internet Service Provider Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB).

A top official of the BTRC said they have often found complaints from different sides about online gambling and that needs to block for the sake of safe internet.

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