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Compliance Updates

US Congress Considers Enforcement and Compliance Review of UIGEA

Niji Narayan

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US Congress Considers Enforcement and Compliance Review of UIGEA
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US Senator Tom Cotton has filed a Congressional bill entitled the “Prevention of Deceptive Child-Targeted Advertising in Violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.”

The bill S. 3322, if adopted, would require the Secretary of the Treasury to opine on the gaming industry’s compliance with certain aspects of UIGEA. Specifically, Treasury would be required to provide: (1) a summary of offerings by online casinos and lotteries operating in the U.S., including a list of such offerings that feature content that may be targeted towards children; and (2) an assessment of both the means by which online casino and lottery websites or mobile apps receive funds from players in light of the prohibitions within UIGEA and the effectiveness of efforts by Treasury to ensure compliance with UIGEA.

Second, the bill would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report on “deceptive advertising related to unlawful internet gambling,” particularly as it relates to children and a summary of the FTC’s efforts to prevent the same.

Furthermore, the bill requires the FTC to report on how social games may be used to entice children to participate in unlawful internet gambling. Sec. 3(b)(1)(B)(i) requires a report “regarding deceptive advertising related to unlawful internet gambling, including an assessment of efforts by internet website and mobile application developers to deceptively present unlawful internet gambling opportunities, including online slot machines, lotteries, table games and similar offerings as part of non-gambling gameplay or application use within websites and mobile applications offered to users in the United States.”

In short, this bill signals a continuing concern by some in Congress with the various legal and social issues surrounding online gaming.

Compliance Updates

EU Report Suggests Consumer Protection Approach to Tackle Loot Boxes

Niji Narayan

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EU Report Suggests Consumer Protection Approach to Tackle Loot Boxes
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A report commissioned by the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee has recently come to the conclusion that the EU should stop approaching loot boxes as a gambling issue and treat the practice as a consumer protection issue.

The report concludes that while the problematic practice can be dangerous due to the way that it can prey on obsession and addiction, especially in younger players, gambling can only be regulated on a country to country basis. This would leave the rule of law for loot boxes and gambling in gaming fragmented among the Member States that make up the EU as each country will be allowed to create there rules separate from the others.

“Since gambling is a national competence of the Member States, approaching the issue from this angle may lead to a fragmented market for video games within the EU… It is therefore recommended to tackle problematic game designs from a wider consumer protection perspective,” the report said.

As a result of this report, the recommendation has been made that loot boxes and problematic game designs be treated as a consumer protection issues, which the EU has the power to set standards for across all Member States. This conclusion comes from the risks that loot boxes can pose to vulnerable and younger players who either may build addictive behaviours, or not understand the true values of their purchases.

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Compliance Updates

Gaming Innovation Group receives CSIE license in New Jersey, USA

George Miller

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Gaming Innovation Group receives CSIE license in New Jersey, USA
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Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is pleased to announce its subsidiary, iGaming Cloud Inc., has today been granted a permanent casino service industry enterprise license (CSIE) from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in New Jersey, USA. The application was filed back in June 2018, and GiG has supported Hard Rock International’s casino operations in New Jersey under a so-called transactional waiver pending the final approval.

The license is granted for five years and gives GiG a permanent license to provide its real-money online casino platform solution to operators in the state of New Jersey.

Richard Brown, CEO of GiG says: “We are delighted to receive the CSIE license after a long and comprehensive process. This is a great achievement for GiG and gives us a solid confirmation that our platform, procedures and operations are meeting the highest standards out there.”

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Compliance Updates

Smarkets introduces betting exchange to Swedish market

George Miller

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Smarkets introduces betting exchange to Swedish market
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Betting exchange Smarkets has launched in Sweden after receiving approval from the national regulator. The London-headquartered company operates one of the world’s leading peer-to-peer platforms for trading on sport, politics and current affairs, and it is now available to users in Sweden at smarkets.com.

Smarkets will become the second licensed betting exchange in Sweden, where online gaming and betting operators reported revenues of SEK14bn (£1.2bn) in 2019, according to figures from regulator Spelinspektionen and the Swedish Tax Agency.

As well as its UK base, Smarkets also has offices in Los Angeles and Malta, and is one of the industry’s only operators to own its full technology stack.

Jason Trost, Smarkets CEO/Founder, said: “We know that customers in Sweden have been eagerly anticipating us going live, so I’m very excited to launch the Smarkets exchange there.

“I am confident that our market-leading prices and superior product will appeal to Swedish customers. The fact that we own our tech stack is one of the reasons we are able to offer the best pricing in the industry, and I’m really looking forward to growing our user base in Sweden.”

Sweden is the second new market in which Smarkets has recently launched. Whilst Swedish customers will be able to use the Smarkets betting exchange, the company also introduced its SBK sportsbook app to bettors in the US state of Colorado in June, and plans to release SBK in Indiana before the end of the year. Smarkets has been available to users in the UK and Ireland since 2010.

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