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Compliance Updates

UK Will Not Ban Video Games Loot Boxes Despite Problem Gambling Findings

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Loot boxes in video games will not be banned in the UK, despite a government consultation finding evidence of a “consistent” association between the features and problem gambling.

Loot boxes have attracted comparison with gambling because they allow players to spend money to unlock in-game rewards, such as special characters, weapons or outfits, without knowing what they will get.

The features, popular in games such as Call of Duty and the Fifa football series, were effectively banned in Belgium in 2018, but the culture minister, Nadine Dorries, said the UK would not follow suit.

Instead, after a 22-month consultation, she said the government would discuss tougher “industry-led” protections with the UK’s £7bn gaming sector, drawing allegations from one expert that “foxes are guarding the hen house”.

Legislating to impose curbs or a prohibition on loot boxes as part of an expected overhaul of the UK’s gambling laws could have “unintended consequences”, Dorries said.

“For example, legislation to introduce an outright ban on children purchasing loot boxes could have the unintended effect of more children using adult accounts, and thus having more limited parental oversight of their play and spending,” the government said.

The government also concluded that while there was “a stable and consistent” association between loot boxes and problem gambling – identified across 15 peer reviewed studies – it could not be sure that there was a causative link.

“Our view is that it would be premature to take legislative action without first pursuing enhanced industry-led measures to deliver protections for children and young people and all players,” it said.

Another factor in the decision is that loot box rewards cannot legitimately be exchanged for real money, meaning players cannot in theory “cash out” as they might when gambling.

However, the Gambling Commission has previously warned that third-party sites are allowing people to exchange the rewards for real money.

While the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) stopped short of proposing legislation, Dorries said: “Children and young people should not be able to purchase loot boxes without parental approval.

“In addition, all players should have access to spending controls and transparent information to support their gaming.”

Ministers are expected to pursue tougher curbs through talks with the UK video games industry. This will be done via a working group, which is scheduled to deliver its first update in the first three months of 2023.

David Winter, Marketing Manager at Gala Bingo adds that, “at Gala Bingo, we believe in practicing safe bingo online. With the gaming industry growing at a rapid pace, gamers and players should be careful and aware of how they are spending their time while playing games. Online gaming can be a fun way to boost your brain activity, and improve your skills, however users always have to play with caution.”

Compliance Updates

Statement from the Premier League, EFL, The FA and Women’s Super League

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Statement from the Premier League, EFL, The FA and Women’s Super League
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Football authorities have formally agreed to adopt a new Code of Conduct for gambling sponsorship in the game

The Premier League, EFL, The FA and Women’s Super League have formally agreed to adopt a new Code of Conduct for Gambling Related Agreements in Football.

Football authorities, alongside a number of other major national bodies of sport, have developed a principle-based approach to a voluntary code of conduct, with each sport committed to producing a code specific for their own sport.

The Code, which will apply to the football authorities and clubs in the professional game, will be implemented at the start of Season 2024/25 and includes the following four general principles around gambling sponsorship:

1. Protection – to protect children and other vulnerable persons, gambling sponsorship must be specifically designed to limit its reach and promotion to those under the age of 18 and those at risk of gambling related harm;
2. Social responsibility – gambling sponsorship must be promoted and delivered in a socially responsible way. This includes ensuring that education and awareness messages are provided as part of all marketing activities;
3. Reinvestment – the commercial income raised from gambling sponsorship must be reinvested back into infrastructure and programmes that serve football fans and communities. This includes investment in staging strong competitions, improving infrastructure such as stadia and training facilities and providing community and grassroots participation opportunities for local communities;
4. Integrity – gambling sponsorship must not compromise the integrity of football competitions nor harm the welfare of those participants who take part in them.

The aim of the Code is to ensure that gambling sponsorships are delivered in a socially responsible way by being designed to limit the reach to children and those at risk of gambling related harm.

Last year, Premier League clubs collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of clubs’ matchday shirts from the end of the 2025/26 season. The League was the first sports league in the UK to take such a measure voluntarily.

The Code of Conduct for Gambling Related Agreements in Football can be viewed here.

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Compliance Updates

Oddsgate advances in compliance with GLI-33 certification

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Oddsgate advances in compliance with GLI-33 certification
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iGaming software company Oddsgate continues strengthening its commitment to regulatory standards by obtaining its third certification from Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), the GLI-33.

With a 2024 agenda prioritizing integrity matters and expanding to new markets, the company has met its goals by obtaining licenses in cruciais countries such as Romania and certifications like GLI-13 and GLI-19.

Established as a benchmark in the market, GLI is a respected entity in the gaming and lottery sector, building its reputation since 1989. With a global network of laboratories across six continents, the company holds both American and international accreditations, ensuring compliance with ISO/IEC standards and technical expertise in the gaming, betting, and lottery industries.

The Brazilian government approves GLI to certify companies and conducts rigorous and thorough testing. In this context, Tiago Almeida, co-founder of Oddsgate, highlights that this process elevates the industry’s standards, especially in a market with recent regulations. By strictly following all the high criteria established, Oddsgate celebrates this advancement, which will bring more quality and security to its activities.

The certification is also strategic for the federal standards already offered to many Brazilian operators and their “.bet.br” domains in pursuit of their local federal Brazilian licence.

The GLI-33 certification covers aspects such as:

• Security Requirements: Protection of sensitive data and system integrity.
• System Integrity: Accuracy and fairness in betting operations.
• Risk Management: Detection and mitigation of fraud and errors.
• Reporting and Audits: Transaction logging and auditing.
• Regulatory Compliance: Adherence to local laws and regulations.

In addition to many other criteria that ensure trust and transparency on betting platforms.

“Oddsgate is meticulously crafting its strategic initiatives, unwaveringly and continuously striving to elevate our software and services to the highest compliance standards. We aim to cultivate an ecosystem of responsible, secure, and transparent betting for our clients, operators, and the ultimate end player. This partnership with GLI fortifies our position and commitment to these ideals, and this significant accomplishment profoundly gratifies us.” added Tiago Almeida.

Almeida further reinforces that the company will continue this approach and reveals that “The Q4 of 2024 will also be a solid execution period for Odddsgate, as we will announce additional certifications and B2B licenses.” to make the platform increasingly complete and maintain its innovative products and solutions.

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Compliance Updates

beBettor partners with EveryMatrix for light touch financial vulnerability checks

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beBettor partners with EveryMatrix for light touch financial vulnerability checks
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Data analytics platform beBettor has partnered with EveryMatrix to provide its UK licenced operator partners with frictionless financial vulnerability checks.

In response to Summer 2023 consultations and new UK Gambling Commission regulation coming into force at the end of August this year, beBettor checks will identify financial vulnerability such as where a customer is subject to bankruptcy orders or has a history of unpaid debts.

Checks will initially be introduced at a higher threshold of £500 net deposits in a rolling 30-day period from 30th August 2024. This threshold will then fall to £150 net deposits in a rolling 30-day period from 28th February 2025.

beBettor technology will be integrated across several of EveryMatrix’s modular platform products to further strengthen its operator partners’ responsible gambling controls for all UK players.

Jake Cachia, Head of Compliance, EveryMatrix, said: “As a business, we pride ourselves in delivering the best service to our operator partners. This will provide our customers with additional robust responsible gambling controls while meeting new UK requirements without any friction so we’re delighted to be working together with beBettor.”

Sonny Cott, beBettor Chief Insights Officer, said: “Our aim is to help operators fully meet this new UKGC requirement in a seamless way that minimises business impact. As the 30th August deadline approaches, we are seeing more and more UK licensed operators opt for our frictionless and non-intrusive financial vulnerability solution. Today, it’s brilliant to announce partnering with EveryMatrix as an award winning sportsbook and iGaming supplier and I look forward to working closely with both EveryMatrix and their operator partners.”

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