Dutch Regulators Investigating 4 Video Games for Loot Box Violations

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Monday 23 April 2018 3:15 pm

The potential that video game loot boxes are a form of gambling that should be regulated and licensed has emerged in Holland. Members of the Dutch Gambling Authority (DGA) have reviewed 10 popular (but unnamed) video games to determine whether or not their techniques for distributing loot boxes are in violation of Dutch gaming laws and whether or not the video game makers should be applying for gambling licenses.

To find out exactly what is happening with the games in question, the DGA commissioned a study to find out exactly where the games stepped over the line between chance and skill. According to the report, as reported on by PCGamer.com:

The study revealed that four of the ten loot boxes that were studied contravene the law. The reason is that the content of these loot boxes is determined by chance and that the prizes to be won can be traded outside of the game: the prizes have a market value. Offering these types of games of chance to Dutch consumers without a license is prohibited.

So what happens next? The DGA is suggesting that the four game makers behind the games must get a Dutch gaming license. The problem here is that the DGA offers no such license for video game makers. In an odd turn of doublespeak, the DGA acknowledges this conundrum by simply saying that the loot boxes offered in the four questionable games are prohibited under Dutch law.

This story offers an excellent illustration of how video game technology has surged far ahead of existing regulations and the challenges regulators are having with keeping up with them.

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DraftKings Ready to Bring Daily Fantasy Sports to the Australian Market

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Saturday 21 April 2018 3:15 pm

Daily fantasy sports (DFS) giant DraftKings has received approval to expand its operations into the northern part of Australia. It’s a big move for the operator that opens its services to millions of new customers.

News of DraftKings’ move broke earlier this week when the operator received approval from the Northern Territory Racing Commission to offer its services in most of Australia. While DraftKings needs a separate license to serve the southern part of the country, its northern license opens up more than 20 million new, potential customers.

While DraftKings plans to open its Australian operations during Q2 2018, it won’t be tailoring its services to the Australian market right away. When it launches, it will not be offering contests on some sports that Aussies love such as cricket and Australia rules football. For the immediate future it seems as though Australians will have to content themselves with other sports such as NBA basketball, PGA golf, and professional tennis.

In a statement to the press on Business Wire, DraftKings CEO Jason Roberts explained his company’s interest in the Australian market saying:

Australia is an important market for DraftKings, as it combines devoted sports fans with sophisticated, tech-savvy consumers – exactly the kind of people who love competing on DraftKings.

Australia is the sixth country outside of North America that DraftKings has expanded to including Malta, Austria, the UK, Ireland and Germany. This expansion is particularly noteworthy as FanDuel, Draftkings’ rival and sometimes partner, has all but stopped its efforts to expand outside of the Norther American market.

As of this writing, DraftKings is working towards obtaining a license to operate in the southern part of Australia.

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Aussie Regulators Looking at Extending Gambling Ad Ban to Live-Streamed Sports

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Thursday 19 April 2018 3:15 pm

Australians are well known for their love of gambling and, not surprisingly, the Australian gambling markets is one of the most robust gambling market on the planet. But Australians are in the midst of a national debate over whether or not there’s such a thing as too much gambling, especially when it comes to sports betting.

One of the biggest results of that national debate is a series of regulations aimed at slowing down the continual barrage of advertisements from sports books promoting live betting during televised sports broadcasts. Those regulations include a ban on sports betting related ads during broadcasts with starting times between 5 a.m and 8:30 p.m. Now regulators at the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are looking to extend that ban to include events that are live streamed over the internet.

The ACMA made the announcement regarding live-streamed sports this week as a sort of addendum to the television regulations, which have only been in effect since March 30. It seems as though they forgot that any bill aimed at protecting children when they’re in front of a screen should also include the smaller screens, such as phones and computers, that children use the most.

In a statement to the press, ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin explained the situation saying:

The proposed rules will bring together a ‘safe zone’ across traditional and new media platforms, with a particular focus on when children are a part of the audience. They will make it clear to viewers, including parents, when gambling advertising is prohibited and extend other important restrictions into the online environment. The ACMA strongly encourages stakeholder submissions and reminds potentially affected online content service providers to prepare for implementation of the new rules.

As of this writing, these rules are still merely proposals, but if you were an Australia and you had to bet on the outcome of this regulatory discussion, you’d probably want to put your money on the ACMA.

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New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware Ready to Share Online Poker Liquidity May 1

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Tuesday 17 April 2018 3:15 pm

The US online poker market is hoping for a big boost on May 1 when the state of New Jersey begins sharing liquidity with Nevada and Delaware.

This arrangement allows player in the three states to cross virtual state lines and play one another in head-to-heads and tournaments online and is a major shot in the arm for a segment of the US-facing online gambling industry that has failed to perform to expectations.

Gambling attorney Sarah Koch summed up the value of shared liquidity between states in an essay titled, Liquidity Pooling Critical to the Success of Online Poker, saying:

No matter how sophisticated the platform or how well-designed the user experience, the game will only be successful if there is a critical mass of players online at any given time. And poker rooms need a range of skill levels and buy-in levels. The best way to ensure 24/7 liquidity is to offer the game to a large number of players across time zones.

Koch’s point was clearly well-taken by gaming regulators in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, as well as operators like Caesars Interactive, which signed on its affiliated brands WSOP.com and 888Poker.com.

For players in Nevada and Delaware, the opportunity to match wits against players in New Jersey adds a huge number of new competitors to what has been a very small pool of players. After all, New Jersey is the 11th most-populous US State while Nevada and Delaware rank 35th and 45th.

Players in Nevada and Delaware will have to download new software to participate in the interstate online poker pact. Currently, there’s no word on whether other states, like Pennsylvania, that are considering legalizing online gambling are also considering joining the liquidity share.

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Washington Social Casino Lawsuit Spawns…More Social Casino Lawsuits

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Sunday 15 April 2018 3:15 pm

A judge’s recent decision declaring social casino gaming to be a form of gambling in a lawsuit against Big Fish Games has spawned a flurry of new lawsuits against social. free-to-play, operators. In the last week alone, Huuge Games, DoubleDown Interactive, High5 Games, and Playtika have all been hit with lawsuits from the same aggrieved player claiming that the companies are engaged in a form of illegal gambling. It’s a troubling trend that could have significant implications for social casino operators in the United States.

The avalanche of legal action comes on the heels of an appellate court ruling in which virtual chips, the kind used by virtually every social casino, were defined as being, “something of value” and therefore were form of gambling in the state of Washington. That same ruling allowed a case against Big Fish to move forward and inspired the attorneys at Tousley Brain Stephens to sue every social casino they could think of on behalf of several players who lost between $ 20-$ 1000 on “free-to-play” sites.

In their legal filings, as reported on by GeekWire,the attorneys state their case saying:

Double Down Casino games are illegal gambling games because they are online games at which players wager things of value (the chips) and by an element of chance (e.g., by spinning an online slot machine) are able to obtain additional entertainment and extend gameplay (by winning additional chips).

None of this news bodes well for the companies who have been operating social casinos in good faith for years and are now staring down the barrel of a series of potentially catastrophic, and potentially class-action, lawsuits. Complicating matters even further is the fact that these cases involve state, not Federal, law, which tends to favor the defendant.

This is a huge development for US-facing social casino operators and will certainly have consequences for all them, whether they’re currently operating in Washington State or not.

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PGA Tour Commissioner Calls for Legalized Sports Betting

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Friday 13 April 2018 3:14 pm

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is joining the chorus of voices calling for the legalization of sports betting in the United States. And like his peers in the rest of the major leagues (which the PGA is rarely included in) he would like a cut of the action to go to his group.

In a revealing interview with the USA Today on the topic of the Supreme Court’s impending decision on American sports betting, Monahan voiced some pretty nuanced opinions on the topic. In particular, Monahan acknowledged that regulated markets are a great counterbalance to black markets saying:

If it’s legalized and regulated, you get to a point where you can better ensure the integrity of your competitions. You can provide adequate protection for consumers, which doesn’t exist today.

Monahan also acknowledged that regulated markets provide new, “commercial opportunities” for the PGA and its players and they would like to “maximize” those opportunities. In the case of the PGA, that would involve a one percent “integrity fee” to help monitor illicit activities in the sport.

The PGA would also like a say in what types of wagers are offered around their sports and, presumably, they’ll be the ones providing the data stream for live betting. To that end, the PGA has been working with sports data company Genius Sports to monitor online betting activities surrounding professional golf and figuring out exactly how to handle a world where sports betting is not illegal.

Unlike NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Monahan says that regulated sports betting would be a boon to his sport saying, “…we believe we’d reach a much broader audience.”

The Supreme Court’s decision on the possible repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 is expected sometime in the very near future.

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France Looks to Sell Half of Française des Jeux Lottery Via IPO

Posted by admin | Casino Affiliates | Wednesday 11 April 2018 9:48 pm

A cash-strapped French government is looking to sell off half of the Française des Jeux FDJ lottery via an initial public offering (IPO). It’s part of a major privatization move that could put as much as $ 10 billion Euros ($ 12.8 billion) back in government coffers and constitutes a major shift in Euro government policy towards gambling monopolies.

News of the proposed sale helps fill a campaign promise by French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron to sell off, or privatize, a number of valuable government assets in an effort to raise cash. The sale of half of FDJ is set to be complete by 2019.

Under the terms of the proposal investment bank BNP Paribas and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP will be responsible for taking about half of the government’s share of FDJ public. The government currently owns about 72 percent of the company, according to a report on the lottery sale by Reuters. When all is said and done, the government would wind up with between 22-25 percent of the shares.

One goal of the post-privatization FDJ would be an increased focus on digital products. Currently, FDJ’s website only accounts for about four percent of its total sales. The company generates another 7.3 percent of its total sales from a series of digital products that are only available at retail-based vendors. FDJ officials are hoping to double the share of digital sales at the company within three years as part of a larger effort to attract younger customers.

With a revenue total of €15.1 billion ($ 18.7 USD), FDJ is Europe’s second largest lottery behind Italy’s Lottomatica.

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