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GambleAware Partners with Parent Zone

Niji Narayan

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GambleAware Partners with Parent Zone
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GambleAware has partnered with the digital family life specialist Parent Zone to educate families about potential risks faced by children when playing online video games.

The project mainly focuses on eight to eleven year-olds, with parents able to access various resources and advice to improve their knowledge about the issues such as mechanics similar to those found in gambling products, including loot boxes.

“Gaming is an important, and fun, part of many families’ lives, but lots of parents do not know about the gambling-like features that are in games – and the risks these can lead to. We want parents to ask what games their children are playing, check that they are happy with what they are doing in those games and know what their children are spending money on,” Vicki Shotbolt, the founder and chief executive of Parent Zone said.

The initiative is launched with a short animation advising why gambling-like risks in online games is an important issue, with a second film to offer more detailed advice about how parents can reduce these risks. The project also include an online quiz and glossary allowing parents and carers to explore the topic further and learn more about how to protect children when gaming online.

“More and more children are being exposed to gambling like activity and it is increasingly important that parents are aware of the risks of gambling and talk to their children about it,” Jane Rigbye, GambleAware’s director of education said.

“We’re really pleased to be able to work with Parent Zone to help educate parents about the gambling-like activity that their kids might be exposed to and make sure they know about the existing help and support that is available,” Jane Rigbye added.

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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Industry News

Word of Mouth: Influencer Marketing in the Gaming Space

George Miller

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Word of Mouth: Influencer Marketing in the Gaming Space
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Traditionally, Word of Mouth Marketing was considered as a free form of advertising or promotion, except today it’s no longer free. Nonetheless, nothing speaks volumes other than “Influencer Marketing”.

You might be surprised to learn that the gaming industry today is worth over a hundred billion dollars. According to new figures, in 2018 alone, the gaming industry generated an astounding $135 billion amassing a growth of 10.9% from 2017. This year, it is set to make $152.1 billion in global earnings.

These numbers say a lot about how the video game industry is a tough market to crack particularly because, with figures like these, the competition is very stiff, trends are fast-changing, and innovation is at an all-time high. Numerous companies have peaked in prior years but had failed to sustain that success because they were too late to adopt the latest technology or they ran out of creativity to improve their existing game offerings. But today, nothing says “viral” than getting your product or service out through viral marketing.

Live Video Game Streaming

The astronomical growth of the video game industry has opened doors to varied forms of businesses, marketing, and advertising, one of which is live video game streaming. Whoever said people hated watching other people play video games? That’s certainly not Twitch.

Twitch, a live streaming video platform, is a subsidiary of Amazon that focuses primarily on the gaming community. Twitch provides an avenue for gamers and gaming enthusiasts to share and watch their gameplays. Aside from hosting live streams, Twitch is an interactive platform that allows its community to connect with fellow players via Twitch Chat or to leave comments in real-time.

Much like YouTube, Twitch was successful in diversifying its revenue streams. Twitch monetizes its platform through advertisements, subscriptions, and merchandise sales. On average, Twitch has more than 15 million daily active users, making it the leading live video game streaming service in the world to date.

The success of Twitch has drawn in other major players such as YouTube and Facebook. YouTube Gaming Live, for instance, is a specialized channel that enables users to share their live gameplays and stream other people’s gameplay videos. Facebook, on the other hand, has created Facebook Gaming, which similarly, allows users to stream, broadcast, and share their favorite games on the Facebook app. Nonetheless, recent statistics show that Twitch still holds as the dominant player in the live game streaming industry accounting for the largest viewership in comparison to Youtube Gaming Live and Facebook Gaming.

Breaking Into the Limelight

With the ever-increasing number of audiences and patrons, we expect steady growth in the live game streaming industry. A strong and loyal fanbase is one of the strengths of the gaming community. And with people interested in watching gameplays after gameplays of their favorite streamers, and with spectators willing to spend just to see their teams battle it out in big E-sport tournaments, only means one thing in the world of business–profits.

Nowadays, video games are no longer just a hobby, it’s a career. Just like how Instagram stars and Youtube vloggers are a thing, game influencers are celebrities in their own playing field. You have probably heard one too many times how someone broke into the millionaire’s club while playing video games and it’s true, they’re living the dream! Gaming influencers with a significant following have caught the eye of both local and multinational companies reaching out to these personalities to get them to sign a deal.

And in this industry, word of mouth holds more power and influence to convert mere spectators into purchasing viewers. A study by Google showed that 90% of avid gamers would turn to Youtube for game reviews, tips, and video game suggestions with a 64% conversion rate. No wonder streamers are raking in millions of dollars from advertisements and promotions.

Consider the case of PewDiePie as an example. PewDiePie is the top-grossing game influencer today with 101 million subscribers on YouTube and an estimated net worth of $30-$50 million. His income streams all came from online advertisements, collaborations, referrals, and online merchandise sales. His career peaked in 2013 when he was the first YouTuber to reach 15 million subscribers.

The rise to fame of game influencers disrupted the way we do traditional advertising. And in an industry that continues to grow and expand in magnitude, game influencers hold a significant role both in the gaming community and in the business scene.

Truly, “word of mouth” has never been this powerful (and expensive!) as it is today, but as long as influencers are maintaining the quality of their content and are keeping the trust of their subscribers, influencer marketing will continue to move in leaps and bounds.

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Industry News

Fines from the Kansspelautoriteit

George Miller

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Fines from the Kansspelautoriteit
Photo Source: linkedin.com
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

A few weeks ago we wrote about the evolution of the UK Gambling Comission. Now, let’s take a look at the Netherlands. So far, 2019 has been a lucrative year for the ‘Kansspelautoriteit’, the Dutch gaming authority. All fines were raised, and 11 casinos received such a fine. In 2018, a total of 1.9 million euros was collected in fines; this year, more than 3.5 million has been collected to date. It seems that the Dutch gaming authority is cleaning house before the legalization of online gaming takes off in January 2021. By the time the newly adopted gambling law is in effect, only casinos and gaming websites with a license from the Kansspelautoriteit can offer their services to Dutch citizens. This is good news for the Dutch: unreliable providers of online games are cracked down on and will later be excluded from the market altogether.

To maximize its effectiveness, the Kansspelautoriteit prioritizes websites that overtly offer their services to Dutch players. According to its own rules, the gaming authority watches for availability to Dutch players, offering the Dutch language on the website or appealing to Dutch players through imagery, and including the exclusively Dutch payment option iDeal. Although many other websites are still accessible to Dutch players, those websites that do not overtly cater to the Dutch market are not the priority for the Kansspelautoriteit.

Which online casinos were fined in 2019?

So far, 9 casinos were fined in 2019. The first fine this year came in February. Exinvest and 1X Corp were fined 400,000 euros. The gambling sites from these enterprises could be accessed from Dutch IP addresses, they offered the payment service iDeal, and used Dutch language on their websites. After a thorough research, it turned out these providers offered 83 other online casinos.

Well-known Casumo was fined in April. This provider, too, was available from Dutch IP addresses and offered the iDeal payment method. The terms and conditions explained that players from the Netherlands could not create a player account, which in practice proved to pose no problems at all. Casumo was fined 310,000 euros.

Casino.com also received a fine in April: this provider had to pay 200,000 euros for offering online games to the Dutch market. Because the company was fined before, the initial fine was doubled. Casino.com was also fined 50,000 euros for charging excessive administrative fees for inactive players. The total amount charged was 450,000 euros.

In June, the Kansspelautoriteit assessed provider Simbat and promotor Spinity. Simbat received a 270,000 euro fine for offering online gambling games. Spinity didn’t offer any such games itself, but was fined 100,000 euros for promoting these games.

BWin followed in August. Their fine totaled 350,000 euros and was based on offering online gambling opportunities to Dutch players, depositing money into a player account using iDeal, and offering live betting options.

The ‘award’ for highest fine goes to Unibet. Their website offered Dutch players the opportunity to place live sports bets and casino games. This provider, too, offered the iDeal payment method, and their customer support through live chat had a Dutch language option. The total fine was 470,000 euros.

The second to last fine to date went to The Stars Group, known for the online poker lobby Pokerstars. The Kansspelautoriteit fined TSG 400,000 euros for offering online games for real money. Although poker is seen as a game of skill rather than a game of chance, Dutch law does not make this distinction. The highest judicial power in the Netherlands ruled poker a game of chance in 1998.

In October, the Kansspelautoriteit announced fines for Royal Panda and LeoVegas. Both of these websites were available from Dutch IP addresses and offered the iDeal payment option. Royal Panda was fined 400,000 euros, whereas LeoVegas got off with a ‘mere’ 350,000 euros.

Raising the fines

To strengthen the efforts of the Kansspelautoriteit, fines were raised to further deter websites from offering their games to the Dutch market. The base payment went up from 150,000 euros to 200,000 euros. The final fine depends on a number of circumstances:

  • The number of active websites
  • The number of available games
  • The presence of live betting options
  • The amount in the jackpot or prize pool
  • How much can be deposited or bet
  • The size of a welcome bonus or other promotions and the presence of a VIP program
  • Charging administrative fees to inactive players
  • Providing false information to players about gambling licenses

When a casino offers live betting options (betting while a match is going on), the base fine is always raised by 75,000 euros. The same amount applies to providing false information about gambling licenses and charging administrative fees for inactive players. The current fine policy can be viewed here (Dutch).

The Kansspelautoriteit announced more measures going forward; the entire fining policy is projected to be overhauled.

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Gambling in the USA

Tim Wilmott Steps Down as Chairman of AGA

Niji Narayan

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Tim Wilmott Steps Down as Chairman of AGA
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Tim Wilmott has retired from the American Gaming Association as its chairman. The legalisation and expansion of sports betting has been a key marker of Wilmott’s term.

He told AGA members: “Once PASPA happened everything changed,” referring to a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a ban on sports betting. Since then, 13 states so far have launched legalised sports betting operations in casinos, racetracks and on mobile devices.

Wilmott, CEO of casino company Penn National Gaming, said the industry’s relations with the government had become even more important with the advent of sports betting. A bill seeking federal sports betting control is now in the Senate.

Wilmott said that during his tenure and that of his previous chairman, the profile of AGA membership had changed and it had broadened as a result of work headed by CEO Bill Miller and his predecessor.

He was speaking to members at the conclusion of the 2019 G2E trade show that had attracted 30,000 gaming professionals to Las Vegas.

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