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Gambling in the USA

Crack down of loot boxes continues in Europe and the USA

Niji Narayan

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Crack down of loot boxes continues in Europe and the USA
Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Gambling regulators from Europe and the USA are upping the ante on their strict regulation of loot boxes. Several regulators have accused the loot boxes to violate of their country’s gambling rules. In a new development, 15 European regulators and the Washington State Gambling Commission have agreed to join hands to “address the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling.”

“Tackling unlicensed third-party websites offering illegal gambling linked to popular video games is a priority,” the UK’s Gambling Commission said; the agencies have urged the games industry and technology platforms to help stamp out such sites. The regulators also said developers need to make sure loot boxes are not considered gambling under local laws.

“We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children,” said Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission. “We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.”

As far as the UK agency is concerned, loot boxes are not considered a form of gambling as long as you cannot exchange the virtual goods you receive for real money. The agency is keeping the issue under review, it said last year.

However, some third-party sites let players buy and sell items such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins and Ultimate Team players in FIFA 18. One site we found offers players the chance to add Juventus megastar Cristiano Ronaldo to their Ultimate Team for an eye-popping $156.

The regulators haven’t taken formal action as yet against any developers, many of which rely on loot boxes as a revenue stream. The move comes after the Netherlands banned loot boxes in some games, and Belgium declared them an illegal form of gambling in titles such as FIFA 18, Overwatch and CS: GO. But EA continued to sell loot boxes (i.e. randomised card packs in Ultimate Team) in FIFA 18, and it is now reportedly under criminal investigation in Belgium. Meanwhile, in a separate case from the gambling regulators, Finland is also reportedly investigating loot boxes.

 

Source: Engadget

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.

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Gambling in the USA

Expectations on Online Gambling in the US

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: rightcasino.com
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The U.S. casinos have already entered into the list of the burning issues of the United States. Nevada is a national gambling symbol in the US, while some of the states impose strict restrictions even on the online casinos. The recent tendencies in the American online gambling market look quite promising.

Around 90% of the American gamblers easily switched from a traditional casino to the online platforms introducing the same services. At the same time, 85% of the US gambling niche income is generated by its online segment. On average, the industry of sports betting reaches the exorbitant figures – $400 billion a year.

It is obvious that the US cannot impose a strict federal ban on online gambling. The only obstacles may exist on the state level, where the situation is quite paradoxical. Depending on the state, the national operators have to satisfy a long list of the legal requirements to get a proper license.

It seems that the endless war between the operators and the state laws is getting tense: many of the gambling icons keep pushing the respective bills about partly legalisation of online casinos.

The milestone to block the decision-making process on a state level is taxation rates for the online casino operators. Some of the fees make it clear that the government would like to benefit from the business as much as the actual providers.

Despite a few legal opportunities, the online gambling niche in the US is blossoming. This business will soon reach its peak and will demand some more room for expanding its influence and audience.

In the nearest future, we can expect some further improvements. There is nothing to hold the industry from further development. Recognising the providers’ needs will resolve lots of issues related to illegal gambling. This should be a minimum benefit the federals cannot resist.

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Gambling in the USA

DOJ Appeals the District Court Decision on Wire Act Case

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: nodepositkings.com
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The Department of Justice has filed its intent to appeal a district court decision on the Wire Act to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

In June, a federal judge in the New Hampshire District ruled that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting and not to other forms of interstate gaming.

The New Hampshire Lottery and its vendor had filed the federal case because of the DOJ’s change in stance on the interpretation of the Wire Act.

The DOJ in 2011 had stated that the Wire Act applied only to sports wagering. But it reversed the course with a memo from 2018, expanding the possible reach for federal prosecution which triggered worries about its applicability to online gambling, lotteries and other forms of gaming that potentially cross state lines.

The New Hampshire District judge had forecast that the case would likely reach the US Supreme Court. While the case is going on, the DOJ has said it would not enforce the new interpretation of the Wire Act until 2020.

“The Department’s action, while hardly unexpected, is certainly unwarranted. DOJ generally files appeals of adverse district court decisions as a matter of course. We hope that, rather than engaging in a protracted, expensive and ultimately unsuccessful legal fight, the Department will take this opportunity to negotiate a settlement which will focus the Wire Act and DOJ’s enforcement resources on the right targets – the unlicensed illegal offshore Internet gambling operators who do not create jobs or tax revenue in the U.S. and do not appropriately protect consumers,” Jeff Ifrah, founder of iDEA Growth (an online gambling lobbying group) said.

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Gambling in the USA

NFL Issues Prohibitions on Sports Betting

Niji Narayan

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Photo source: onlinegambling.com
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NFL has issued strict prohibitions on sports betting. In an email sent to NFL employees, vendors and contractors, the league made it clear that gambling on sports could lead to losing one’s job.

NFL’s communication said, in part:

“Gambling, particularly betting on NFL games or other sports, presents risks to the integrity of our competition and team cohesion, and can undermine the confidence and trust of our fans and colleagues in America’s greatest game. We therefore owe it to our fans and everyone associated with the League to take all appropriate steps to safeguard our game against possible threats from illegal gambling as well as gambling in a legal, regulated context.”

The memo spelled out forbidden activities and practices in detail. Prohibitions include:

Gambling at offshore sites or in states without legal sports betting

Gambling in any form on NFL games

Offering inside info or tips on a team or game

Setting foot in a sportsbook during the season

Betting in any form on anything in any NFL facility

Promoting any kind of gambling entity

Owning any part of a casino or sports betting operation

These restrictions are applied to owners, players and various vendors and contractors. Players are also implored to always give a “best effort” in any game to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Non-sports wagering is allowed so long as employees do not physically enter a sportsbook to place the bet. Online or third-party wagers are allowed if done through state-approved operations. The league has made an exception for fantasy leagues with prizes under $250. Daily fantasy sports remain a violation of league policy.

The process of review and potential punishment for the rule violations lay at the feet of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who, according to the memo will make assessments on a case-by-case basis.

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