Spanish gambling regulator the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) has opened a consultation asking whether loot boxes should require new regulation, be regulated as gambling products or prohibited entirely.
The DGOJ pointed out that loot boxes have “quickly become a very relevant business model” in both paid and free-to-play games.
It said around half of the mobile games and 35% of computer games contain the mechanic. Loot boxes are “blind-boxed” items that players purchase for a fee, for the chance to obtain valuable in-game items.
It also said that loot boxes share many features with gambling products, including “near misses” and “losses disguised as wins.”
The regulator explained that under Spain’s Gambling Act, gambling involves payment for participation, chance in determining the result and a prize transferred to the winner.
The DGOJ, therefore, said loot boxes could clearly be considered gambling. This depended on whether the purchase of the box was an action distinct from purchase of the game, if the prize depended on chance and if the prize could be exchanged – inside or outside of the game – for money.
“This legal definition, known and assimilated by all entities with activity related to gambling and betting, is also applicable to loot boxes. It is irrelevant if that reward is a cosmetic improvement in the video game or competitive advantage for the player who obtains it,” DGOJ said.
The consultation lasts until March 31, with the regulator accepting submissions by email.
Spinomenal secures B2B UKGC licence
Spinomenal, the leading iGaming content provider, has secured its B2B licence from the UKGC to open further opportunities within one of the world’s premium markets.
Spinomenal’s rich roster of slot games is now readily available for UK operators, which includes Lucky Jack – Lost Jungle, Wolf Fang, Demi Gods III as well as the revolutionary shared Spinomenal Universe.
The star content provider now boasts gaming licences for a wave of the most highly coveted regulated territories. The UKGC licence joins approval from the Malta Gaming Authority, Sweden, Netherlands and Romania.
Retro Gaming, a classic slots studio powered by Spinomenal, is now also in position to extend its reach and allow partners to diversify their offering with nostalgic entertainment.
Spinomenal’s Head of Partnerships Olga Sirokha, commented: “Securing our UK gaming licence is a huge moment as it allows us to share our outstanding slots library with partners working in this prestigious market. Our Retro Gaming project is gaining momentum all the time and we expect this to accelerate now we’re able to target UK-licensed operators with its range of classic entertainment products.”
Smarkets Fined £630,000 for AML and Social Responsibility Failings
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has handed a £630,000 fine to betting exchange Smarkets after identifying a series of anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings, including letting a player deposit a six-figure sum without appropriate checks.
According to UKGC, Smarkets allowed customers to gamble without carrying out sufficient source-of-funds checks, while the operator was also found to have failed to identify and interact with customers at risk of experiencing harm.
Specific examples published by the Commission included one customer being allowed to deposit £395,000 during a four-month period, without appropriate source of funds checks being carried out by Smarkets.
The Commission also highlighted a case where an individual was able to transfer significant levels of funds between accounts without scrutiny or source-of-funds checks.
Sarah Gardner, Commission Deputy CEO, said: “This case was identified through compliance checks and once again highlights how we will take action against gambling operators who fail their customers.
“Our investigation into Smarkets unearthed a variety of failures where customers were put at risk of gambling harm.
“It was obvious that poor systems and processes were in place which contributed to these breaches, driven by the company’s failure to effectively implement its policies and controls.”
The operator has also received a formal warning and will undergo an audit to ensure it is effectively implementing its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies, procedures and controls, in line with section 117(1)(b) of the Gambling Act 2005.
Openbox Gaming offers gateway to Asia
New provider will deliver fresh content opportunitues to both operators and suppliers
Openbox Gaming, a fast-growing distributor of iGaming content across Asia and other markets, has been issued an IOM OGRA Software Supplier licence by the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC).
Having secured the Software Supplier licence, one of the industry’s newest iGaming distributors with a unique USP will be in a position to supply a portfolio of online casino games from a variety of internal and external suppliers, to licensed B2B gaming partners and B2C operators.
Richard Hogg, CEO of Openbox Gaming, commented: “We are excited to be able to continue in our mission to deliver gaming content to regulated jurisdictions worldwide and see this as a major step in achieving those objectives. We selected the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission due to its established and proven reputation and its robust licensing process, which provides the ideal platform for our expansion into regulated markets.”
Tony Ure, Head of eGaming, Digital Isle of Man added: “It is a pleasure to welcome Openbox Gaming to the Island. Ensuring that the Island has a supportive ecosystem for gaming companies to operate their business, whilst maintaining our reputation as a highly regulated jurisdiction that prides itself on player protection is key to continuing the growth of this sector on the Isle of Man. I wish Openbox Gaming every success with their future ventures.”
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