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Czech Republic joins global initiative to tackle gambling in video games

Niji Narayan

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Czech Republic joins global initiative to tackle gambling in video games
Photo Source: flanderstoday.eu
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Czech Republic has decided to join an international front of 14 other countries and the state of Washington in its bid to fight gambling in video games. Children are the most vulnerable prey to this particular form of gambling. The initiative was formed to tackle the blurring lines between digital entertainment like gaming and gambling.

The following countries are going to be part of this initiative: Austria, Czech Republic with Karel Blaha that is the director of the State Oversight Over Gambling Department, France, Gibraltar, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK, The Washington State.

As video games become more popular thanks to the advances in technology, competition also heats up in the industry, which in turn leads to a mad rush for revenue. That is when new revenue streams like “soft” gambling: “loot boxes” are introduced, which are in effect a surrogate form of gambling, the initiative reckons.

Loot boxes started to appear in the US with the release of Star Wars Battlefront II, by Electronic Arts. Players began to flag that with the increasing presence of loot boxes they were being forced to gamble to improve their gameplay.

This is a clear reflection of the challenges that the video games industry has had to face since the late 1990s: production costs have continued to increase, but retail prices have remained stagnant. Loot boxes offer the opportunity to increase revenue and were firstly available in Blizzard’s Overwatch (2016) but are not regular features also in video games like FIFA 17, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Halo 5, Gears of War 4, Forza Motorsport 7, and Star Wars Battlefront II.

In 2017 the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which is the regulator that classify games in regards to sex, violence and other age factors refused to classify loot boxes as a type of gambling. In 2018, however, the ESBR released a new label for games that do include loot boxes or similar features.

Until now, however, there has not been a single approach to the problem with different legislators that have had different views on the subject: in Belgium, for example, the gaming regulator said that Battlefront II has loot boxes that involve money and addiction: the result was that both Belgium and Netherlands have banned games that have loot boxes.

 

Source: PraguePost

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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Central Europe

FACR and Sportradar renew integrity and data partnership

George Miller

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FACR and Sportradar renew integrity and data partnership
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The Football Association of the Czech Republic (FACR) and Sportradar – the world’s leading supplier of sports integrity solutions – have today entered a long term integrity partnership.

Under the agreement, all matches in FACR third tier and youth competitions will be monitored by Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System (FDS); the most technically advanced bet monitoring system available, and the only such system to be independently assessed and verified by recognized experts in the field of sports betting and integrity. The partnership will also see Sportradar’s Intelligence & Investigation Services support FACR’s intelligence programme, utilising big data and open source analysis, powered by cutting edge technology solutions and a team of dedicated intelligence experts.

In addition to the integrity partnership, Sportradar will act as FACR’s official data partner across all major men’s, women’s and youth competitions during the course of this agreement.

Speaking about the partnership, Jan Pauly, General Secretary of FACR said: “Sportradar have been a valued and trusted partner of ours since 2012, with their FDS bet monitoring solution providing valuable oversight of global betting data surrounding our competitions. By adding their Intelligence and Investigation services to our integrity programme, we are confident that we will gain an extra layer of visibility and insight into potential integrity risks, as we have already witnessed through collaboration on previous projects.”

Sportradar Integrity Services Managing Director Andreas Krannich added: “We have been proud partners of the FACR since 2012 and are delighted to be extending – and expanding – our integrity partnership well into the next decade. Our long term partners know best the importance we place on establishing strong working relationships, as they help put safeguarding efforts in the best position to succeed. Moreover, our Intelligence and Investigation products will now put FACR competitions in an even stronger position to thrive. We look forward to building our relationship with FACR over the coming years and playing an even stronger role in helping to uphold the integrity of Czech football”.

 

ABOUT SPORTRADAR INTEGRITY SERVICES:

Sportradar Integrity Services are the world’s leading supplier of monitoring, intelligence, education and consultancy solutions for sport organisations and state authorities to support them in the fight against betting-related and sports corruption. Trusted and relied on by more than 75 sports governing bodies and leagues around the world, and staffed with executives who have both implemented betting policies for the world’s largest sports bodies and provided large-scale consulting services to leagues in the integrity space, they are firmly established as the unrivalled market leader in the field of sporting integrity.

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Central Europe

STS to Open Premium Outlets in Polish Cities

Niji Narayan

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STS to Open Premium Outlets in Polish Cities
Photo Source: kompetencjeit.pl
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

STS, the largest bookmaker in Poland, is going to open premium outlets. STS claims that despite the development on the Internet, stationery business still makes sense.

STS has the largest share in the domestic market. The company generates the majority of revenues on the internet, but states that the fixed-line network being built since the 1990s still accounts for around 20% revenues.

“We will invest over a dozen million PLN in launching premium premises in the largest Polish cities. The first facility of this type has already started in Szczecin, and the next will be opened in Warsaw, Wrocław, Kraków and Gdańsk. Standard premises have about 30-35 square meters of space, these will have more than 150 sq m. We want top locations so that these facilities can serve as a showcase of the company,” Mateusz Juroszek, president of STS said.

“A few years ago, it seemed that the bookmaking business would quickly move to the internet and keeping the stationery premises would have no point. However, it did not happen – and there is no indication that this will happen. Land-based outlets have a large, loyal group of clients, and – contrary to stereotypes – they are not, above all, old people staying in them. The average age of a customer is less than 40 years,” Mateusz Juroszek said.

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Central Europe

Czech Government to Increase Taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco and Gambling

Niji Narayan

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Czech Government to Increase Taxes on Alcohol, Tobacco and Gambling
Photo Source: atlasobscura.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

The Czech government is going to raise the taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling. The Czech Finance Minister Alena Schiller has cited an increase in average salary and purchasing power of the citizens to advocate an increase in taxes.

“The average wage growth [in the Czech Republic] between 2009 and 2018 was 45%, while consumer tax on alcohol was last increased in 2010 and we will not raise it again until 2020,” Alena Schiller said.

As per the proposed tax revision, taxes on hard liquor would increase by 13%, cigarettes by 10%, sports betting by 2% and lotteries and games of chance by 7%. The revised and increased taxation could chip in an additional 10 billion crowns in annual tax revenue once it comes into effect.

“Both the World Health Organization and the OECD recommend that we do something about alcohol and tobacco consumption, and one of the most effective recommendations is a higher tax burden,” Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.

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