Members of the Gaming Regulators’ European Forum (GREF) have completed the study about the effects of microtransactions in video games, which has included the use of “loot boxes.”
The members of the Forum have chosen not to implement measures which would restrict such features, despite receiving specific recommendations to do so.
The report on the findings of the study has been published by the French regulator Arjel. The report found that GREF members felt as though implementing gambling regulations on such features would depend heavily on the definition of gambling in each jurisdiction.
The report explained: “It is recognised that whether these activities ultimately trigger the implementation of gambling regulation, would depend on each national gambling definition.”
“[GREF members] highlight the need for involvement of national authorities responsible for consumer protection, health, education as well as digital and financial regulation,” the report added.
“Consumer protection associations are encouraged to make recommendations in this direction: for example, the communication before the purchase of the loot-box content and the probabilities of obtaining a particular virtual item. Regarding minors, [GREF members highlight] awareness of parents, including the incentive for use of parental control in a systematic way; as well as the need to maintain a frank and productive dialogue with sector organisations to agree on more protective solutions, particularly amongst young people,” the report said.
ACMA Issues First Directions for ISPs to Block Unauthorised Offshore Sites
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued notices to Internet service providers (ISPs), under Section 313(3) of the telecommunications act, to take steps to prevent their customers from accessing unauthorised offshore sites “Emu Casino” and “Fair Go Casino.”
ACMA said that the two sites it was targeting offered casino-style games, which are prohibited by the Interactive Gambling Act.
Section 313(3) has previously been employed to block access to child abuse material, tackle online fraud and prevent the spread of malware. The government in mid-2017 released guidelines for the use of the power by Commonwealth agencies, following an incident where a notice issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) saw hundreds of thousands of sites erroneously blocked.
“Emu Casino and Fair Go Casino are illegal sites that target Australians, and between the two we have received more than 50 complaints about their conduct,” ACMA’s chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
Macau’s DICJ Conducts iGaming Inspections During MGS 2019
Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has conducted iGaming inspections during MGS Entertainment Show 2019, as part of an ongoing campaign to ensure exhibitors are not engaging in the display or promotion of consumer-facing iGaming products.
The operation, carried out alongside the Judicial Police and Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), involved “various surveillance actions” to check whether exhibitors were promoting illegal online games, the creation of gaming websites or other activities related to illicit gambling.
No such cases were detected, although unspecified irregularities individually committed by some exhibitors were corrected on the spot, the DICJ said. Information leaflets were also distributed to all exhibitors clarifying Macau’s legal provisions.
Czech Republic to Introduce Gambling Exclusion Register in 2020
Alena Schillerová, Finance minister of the Czech Republic, has revealed that an exclusion register to block a range of individuals – both voluntarily and involuntarily – from gambling would launch next year. The incoming exclusion register follows on from the 2017 Gambling Act, which legalised iGaming in the Czech Republic for the first time.
Individuals on this list will not be allowed to gamble at all, whether that be online or land-based. People who have been declared bankrupt, are on welfare, or have been treated for gambling addiction will all be added. There shall also be an option for players to voluntary exclude themselves, if they want to.
“We will publish documentation at the turn of this year and begin testing, so that this register is operational in mid-2020,” Schillerová said.
“Currently, all indicators of online gambling are growing. The proportion of online players is increasing, and sports betting is the biggest problem. Young men are particularly at risk from developing problems. This is what our next steps are targeting. It’s not a matter of deleting new technologies from life. Instead, we’re looking to find a balance for their use,” Jarmila Vedralová, National Drug Policy Coordinator in the Czech Republic said.
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