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Australian MP to Introduce a Bill to Ban Loot Boxes for Under 18s

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hitechglitz.com
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Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie is going to introduce a bill to Parliament next month to ban the sale of in-game loot boxes to those under 18 years of age.

“We as a country accept that people over the age of 18 can gamble but let’s make that for adults and giving parents a warning,” Andrew Wilkie said.

Wilkie said that video games using loot box mechanics were grooming young children “for future gambling” and that any game featuring loot boxes should be tagged with an R18+ rating. The changes would also add a new notification, so games featuring loot boxes would receive an advisory as part of their classification rating. Some advisories listed on games today, for instance, include strong science fiction themes, coarse language, online interactivity, interactive drug use, and more.

“It’s not clear if that’s what game companies design but it’s self-evident that they have that effect,” he said. “To allow very young children to pay cash for a randomised event that may or may not reward them that would meet any definition of gambling.”

Australia

ACMA Blocks More Illegal Gambling Websites

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block more illegal gambling websites, after investigations found these services to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The latest sites blocked include Jogi Casino, Dundee Slots, Lucky Hunter, Lucky Wins, Lukki Casino, Spin Fever, Clubhouse Casino and Winport Casino.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal gambling services. This action can be taken if a service is:

  • providing prohibited interactive gambling services to customers in Australia (such as online casinos, online slot machines and services that allow in-play online sports betting)
  • providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to customers in Australia (such as online betting services that don’t have a valid Australian licence)
  • publishing ads for prohibited interactive gambling services or unlicensed regulated interactive gambling services in Australia.

Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 975 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked. Over 220 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing illegal offshore gambling rules.

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Australia

Jumbo Enters into New SaaS Agreement with RSPCA Queensland

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Jumbo Interactive Limited announced that it has entered into a software license agreement with RSPCA Queensland (RSPCA) for the RSPCA national lottery programme.

The current RSPCA national lottery programme generates ~$10m in annual ticket sales. These funds are essential to keeping charities like RSPCA Queensland operating as they are 95.5% community-funded.

Jumbo CEO and Founder, Mike Veverka, said: “We’re very excited to be working with the RSPCA, an iconic brand in Australia, to help it digitally transform and grow their lottery program, and continue to provide lifesaving animal welfare services across Australia.”

RSPCA Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Darren Maier, said: “Growing our supporter base is vital for us to continue to deliver our operations and programs that see us care for and protect over 42,000 animals in Queensland every year. Jumbo’s best-in-class lottery software and demonstrated experience in growing lottery programs were instrumental in the establishment of this strategic partnership.”

The agreement includes a license fee structure in which Jumbo’s SaaS segment will receive a service fee for RSPCA’s utilisation of the “Powered by Jumbo” (PBJ) platform and an additional service fee for select technology-enabled services. The overall service fee will be calculated as a percentage of gross ticket sales from the RSPCA national lottery programme and will be in the mid to high-single digit range, reflecting the scale of the lottery programme.

The agreement is for a three year term with an option to extend for a further three years. The RSPCA national lottery programme is expected to transition to the PBJ platform in 1QFY25.

In addition, Jumbo has entered into a product reseller agreement with RSPCA, facilitating the sale of RSPCA lottery tickets on ozlotteries.

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Australia

AUSTRAC and SkyCity agree to proposed $67 million penalty

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AUSTRAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Thomas
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SkyCity Adelaide Pty Ltd (SkyCity) and AUSTRAC have filed joint submissions with the Federal Court of Australia, proposing a $67 million penalty over the casino’s contravention of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act).

A court hearing has been set down for 7 June 2024, at which Justice Lee will consider the parties’ proposed settlement.

While AUSTRAC and SkyCity agree that a $67 million penalty is appropriate in all the circumstances, it is a matter for the court to determine the appropriate penalty.

In reaching this agreement, SkyCity has admitted that it operated in contravention of the AML/CTF Act, including that:

  • its AML/CTF Programs did not meet the requirements of the AML/CTF Act and AML/CTF Rules, in contravention of section 81.
  • it did not carry out appropriate ongoing customer due diligence with respect to certain higher risk customers and customers transacting through higher risk channels, in contravention of section 36.

“AUSTRAC took this action out of concern that SkyCity’s conduct meant that a range of high-risk practices, behaviours and customer relationships were allowed to continue unchecked for many years,” AUSTRAC’s Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Thomas said.

Mr Thomas said the action serves as an important reminder to casinos and the gaming sector to take their AML/CTF obligations seriously and be vigilant to money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

As the matter is before the court for determination, AUSTRAC is unable to comment further on the proceedings.

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