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UK House of Lords Calls for Urgent Regulation of Loot Boxes

Niji Narayan

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UK House of Lords Calls for Urgent Regulation of Loot Boxes
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The House of Lords Gambling Committee has urged the UK government to classify video game loot boxes as “games of chance.” The recommendation came as part of a wide-ranging report in which the committee suggested a number of changes to the gaming industry.

“If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling. The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation,” the report says.

Loot boxes have long been controversial in video games. They offer players a chance at a randomised reward when opened. To further complicate matters, boxes can often be bought for real money, and the rewards can sometimes be traded.

Lord Grade, chairman of the committee, said that lots of other countries have already started to regulate loot boxes because “they can see the dangers” which is teaching “kids to gamble.”

He said the Gambling Act was “way behind what was actually happening in the market” but he added that the “overwhelming majority” of the report’s recommendations “could be enacted today” as they do not require legislation.

The Lords report is wide-ranging, covering the entire gambling industry, but focuses in part on new forms of gambling, and those targeted towards children.

“There is academic research which proves that there is a connection, though not necessarily a causal link, between loot box spending and problem gambling,” it says.

The Lords report concludes that ministers should make new regulations which explicitly state that loot boxes are games of chance. It also says the same definition should apply to any other in-game item paid for with real money, such as FIFA player packs.

The government told the committee that its planned future review of the Gambling Act would focus on loot boxes. But the Lords report warns: “This issue requires more urgent attention.”

Compliance Updates

Netherlands’s Kansspelautoriteit Clarifies Licence Application Deadlines

Niji Narayan

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Netherlands’s Kansspelautoriteit Clarifies Licence Application Deadlines
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Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has clarified its rules around the submission of documents for prospective online licensees, announcing that certain documents required to receive a licence may be submitted later than the application.

KSA clarified that, as long as the application is submitted by April 15, the documents will not be required until July 1 in order to grant a licence on the market’s October 1 opening date.

The October 1 launch date was announced last week by Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker in the third delay to regulated igaming in the country. Dekker said a slower implementation of the laws may create a stronger environment of regulation when he pushed back the start date again.

Online gambling in the Netherlands was initially scheduled to launch on 1 January 2021, but in November 2019, the KSA pushed back the launch date to 1 July 2021.

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Compliance Updates

Stats Perform Receives IBIA Data Standards Accreditation

Niji Narayan

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Stats Perform Receives IBIA Data Standards Accreditation
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Stats Perform has become the first betting data provider to be awarded the International Betting Integrity Association’s (IBIA) independently audited Data Standards Accreditation for the collection and distribution of sports event data for betting.

The award represents the highest mark of betting data quality and integrity available and is assessed by expert independent auditors, eCOGRA.

“I am delighted to announce that Stats Perform is the first company to meet the data standards protocols IBIA published in October 2020. In passing the independent auditing process, Stats Perform has demonstrated secure and robust internal procedures for the collation of sporting event data for betting and may now utilise the Data Standards Kitemark,” Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said.

“Stats Perform met every requirement set out in the data standards protocols. The company was well-prepared for the auditing process, and the evidence that was reviewed was representative of a company culture that is in line with the core principles of IBIA’s data integrity standards and committed to continually improving upon them,” Shaun McCallaghan, CEO of eCOGRA, said.

“This accreditation is thanks to tireless quality and integrity efforts from our sports data operations teams over the past 15 years and, whilst we’re grateful for the recognition, we know our efforts don’t stop here. We continuously search for new threats and assess opportunities to improve our sports data processes, people and technology,” Andrew Ashenden, Chief Betting Officer at Stats Perform, said.

“Stats Perform’s RunningBall and Opta sports data is chosen by the world’s leading rights holders, sportsbooks and pricing providers to power exceptional in-play betting experiences for millions of global sports bettors,” Andrew Ashenden added.

“Our priority at Stats Perform is the integrity of the betting markets and of the competitions upon which they rely. Effective risk management of our data supply chain involves ongoing investment, collaboration and commitment across numerous expert teams who live and breathe the quality of our product. We are very proud to be recognised by the IBIA for our dedication to quality and integrity,” Jake Marsh, Global Head of Integrity at Stats Perform, said.

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Compliance Updates

Booming Games receives UK license

George Miller

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Booming Games receives UK license
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Malta-based and MGA licensed slot supplier Booming Games kicks off 2021 with the approval from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to supply their games to players in the UK. The company has met the high standards of the regulator and received the supplier license in January 2021.

Frederik Niehusen, CCO at Booming Games commented: “We are extremely proud to kick off 2021 with the approval of our UK license. After receiving the MGA license more than two years ago we have made the next big step in our regulatory road map. The UKGC sets one of the highest regulatory standards in our industry and we have met these standards within a short time period thanks to a strong team performance.”

The majority of Booming Games’ slot portfolio will soon be available to UK players via existing and future partners. This includes top game titles like Burning Classics, Howling Wolves, Gold Vein and Lucky Scarabs.

“We are looking forward to expanding the market reach of our games to the UK with our existing as well as future partners. The UK remains a key market for many operators.”, Frederik Niehusen added.

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