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Hawaii’s proposed Loot Box Regulation and the ESA’s response

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The lawmakers and policy pushers have been too much into debate and discussions about regulating premium loot boxes in paid video games. With regard to this, the U.S. Senator appealed the FTC to investigate this along with the Hawaiian lawmakers who are marching ahead to fix the regulation. Consequently, ESA responded to one of the proposed regulations that a Hawaiian representative came forward with.

As per the GamesIndustry.biz, the ESA spokesperson stated that: ”The Entertainment Software Association has responded to an inquiry about new steps in legislation being taken to address loot boxes and certain lawmakers pushing the ESRB to update the ratings to better reflect the current state of loot boxes and the potentiality of gambling in premium-priced games containing paid loot boxes.” “As an industry, we take our responsibility to consumers very seriously and continually work to create greater awareness and transparency about the wide range of in-game experiences. We strongly believe that the industry’s robust, self-regulatory efforts remain the most effective way to address these important issues, and that system has a proven and long record of doing so. Some consumers and parents may have questions about how loot boxes work, and ESA has demonstrated a commitment to providing information to guide consumers, especially parents, in their purchase decisions.”

This comes soon after a U.S. Senator held a meeting with four members of the Federal Trade Commission requesting that a thorough investigation be made in order to determine if AAA games like Forza Motorsport 7 and Star Wars: Battlefront II that contain premium loot boxes are committing predatory practices. To which the committee for the FTC gave a unanimous “Yes!”.

The Senator also reached out to the ESRB in hopes of getting the self-regulated body to examine adding warnings to the packages of video games that contain loot boxes in order to give parents the necessary information about the potential dangers of loot boxes, or at least information on what it means if a game does contain premium loot boxes.

The ESRB responded much in the same way as the Entertainment Software Association, saying that steps would be taken to look into the issue and that it has done its part in informing parents about the content contained within video games.

However, it may not matter what the ESA or the ESRB say, given that Hawaiian State Representative Chris Lee, has spearheaded bills for legislation at the House and Senate level, both of which will introduce stricter regulation on video games that contain premium loot boxes. The bills would enforce disclosures by publishers and rating boards to inform parents if a game contains randomised rewards or virtual items that can be acquired through randomised rewards for an exchange of real money. Additionally, the bills would prohibit the sale of these games to anyone under the age of 21, as loot boxes in premium games would be classified as gambling.

Prior to the legislative efforts, the ESRB, PEGI and UKIE were given opportunities to address loot boxes, but PEGI and UKIE deferred to the U.K.’s gambling commission while the ESRB adamantly denied that premium loot boxes were classified as gambling.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Swiss Casinos forges partnership with Playtech for online launch

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Swiss Casinos forges partnership with Playtech for online launchReading Time: 1 minute

 

Swiss Casinos, a major land-based casino operator in Switzerland, has signed a partnership with Playtech, the premier gaming software development company based in Isle of Man, for the launch of its online casinos.

The move is significant as the Swiss market will host iGaming for the first time from January 2019.

According to the newly passed Swiss legislation, only the land-based casino operators in the country will be eligible for the licence to run iGaming facility through their online channel from January.

“We are extremely excited to have found an internationally experienced and innovative partner in Playtech,” Swiss Casinos Group chief executive Marc Baumann said. “We will now be able to offer our customers in Switzerland an attractive iGaming offering.”

Playtech chief operating officer Shimon Akad added that his company was pleased to have partnered Switzerland’s leading casino brand.

“Playtech has a long history of success in cooperation with leading brands in the world’s most important gambling markets, and we are looking forward to a long and successful partnership with Swiss Casinos,” he said.


Source: European Gaming Media

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UK may implement cut of FOBT maximum stakes earlier than announced

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The British culture minister Jeremy Wright said the government is planning to prepone the implementation of the planned reduction of the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Earlier, the date of implementation was October 2019. It could be proposed by six months to April 2019.

It is a real twist in the tale, following the resignation of sports minister Tracey Crouch, who blamed the government of delaying to October the planned the reduction of maximum stake from 100 pounds to just two pounds.

The government had been staring at a possible defeat on its budget legislation in parliament, as many legislators from the governing Conservatives backed an amendment which would have forced them to bring forward the timing of the cut.

Wright said the implementation of the proposed rise in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, could also be preponed to April to cover the negative impact on the public finances.


Source: European Gaming Media

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SportCaller launches all-new £1m ‘Jungle Jackpot‘ game with Lottoland for new series of hit show

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SportCaller launches all-new £1m ‘Jungle Jackpot‘ game with Lottoland for new series of hit showReading Time: 3 minutes

 

FTP specialist releases £1m Jungle Jackpot, an innovative new free-to-play game with Lottoland, to connect with a fresh mainstream audience


SportCaller, the free-to-play (FTP) game specialist, has broken new ground by partnering with leading bet-on-lotteries operator Lottoland for the launch of Jungle Jackpot, another fresh concept in its ever-expanding portfolio of products and clients.

The £1m jackpot FTP game is set to roll out for the upcoming series of ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’, hosted by Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby.

Jungle Jackpot offers players the opportunity to win £1m if they can correctly forecast the final placings of the celebrities in the smash-hit ITV programme, by predicting the order in which they will leave the jungle. A secondary daily prediction game, once the evictions start, will also provide players with the chance to win smaller rewards and cash prizes, based on their following of the show and what’s happening day-to-day in the camp.

The main jackpot will see Lottoland partner with some of the UK’s biggest digital properties to promote the game and reach a broad and highly social target audience, opening up the opportunity to introduce them to the value and innovation provided across Lottoland’s lottery betting and wider gaming products.

Having cornered the market for free-to-play sporting games, SportCaller MD Cillian Barry said the launch was the provider’s first foray into mass-media events in order to engage a new and truly mainstream audience.

Barry noted: “It’s a real coup to be collaborating with Lottoland on a jackpot product which speaks to a broader demographic, over and above the sports betting community that is our usual focus. Our combined ability to deliver presents a genuine test case for FTP flourishing outside its original sporting-betting domain by bringing to market a game that will appeal to the wider general public. Jungle Jackpot is a genuine industry-first for such a popular TV show.”

“Novelty betting has been around for years with Paddy Power et al, but this game is now redefining novelty appeal for non-gambling-focussed users. Jungle Jackpot sets a new standard for the next generation of online media consumers – it’s fun, fast, accessible and instantly immersive. In a typically standardised market for sign-up promotions and bonuses, SportCaller offers a third way to market. With our jackpot prediction games, we empower operators and media owners by converting traffic into transactional customer accounts, delivering trackable levels of increased player-activity and loyalty, which means clear, measurable payback.”

Nigel Birrell, CEO for Lottoland added: “The ability of SportCaller’s games to organically harness player engagement around sports events made them the perfect fit for this partnership. We’ve no doubt Jungle Jackpot will provide a real and immediate boost to both our acquisition and the cross-selling of Lottoland’s array of popular products.

“The social elements of this game can also deliver significant potential for growth. The main £1m Jungle Jackpot game gives every adult fan of the show the chance to win a lottery-level prize from a simple prediction mechanic. After all, who doesn’t have an opinion on what will happen each year when this rag-tag group of celebs heads into the jungle? The daily prediction games also represent a very accessible way to make a prediction on who will leave the jungle next, giving viewers a chance to test their opinions for rewards, and ultimately a share of a £10,000 cash prize, if proving to be the ultimate jungle judge!”

All games are fully compliant with global regulations, and are available across mobile and desktop channels on http://junglejackpot.sportcallerI’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!.com. The Jungle Jackpot microsite hosting the games is geolocated to UK & Ireland players only, via SportCaller’s geo-restricting tech.


Source: European Gaming Media

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