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Social media companies need to do more to fully comply with EU consumer rules

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European Commission – Press release

Social media companies need to do more to respond to the requests, made last March by the European Commission and Member States’ consumer authorities, to comply with EU consumer rules.

Brussels, 15 February 2018

Social media companies need to do more to respond to the requests, made last March by the European Commission and Member States’ consumer authorities, to comply with EU consumer rules.

The changes made by Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to align their terms of services with EU consumer protection rules have been published today.

These changes will already benefit more than a quarter of a billion of EU consumers who use social media: EU consumers will not be forced to waive mandatory EU consumer rights, such as their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase; they will be able to lodge their complaints in Europe, rather than in California; and the platforms will take up their fair share of responsibilities towards EU consumers, similarly to the off-line service providers. However, the changes only partially fulfil the requirements under EU consumer law.

Vera Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “As social media networks are used as advertising and commercial platforms, they must fully respect consumer rules. I am pleased that the enforcement of EU rules to protect consumers by national authorities is bearing fruit, as some companies are now making their platforms safer for consumers; however, it is unacceptable that this is still not complete and it is taking so much time. This confirms that we need a ‘New Deal for Consumers’: EU consumer rules should be respected and if companies don’t comply, they should face sanctions.”

While Google’s latest proposals appear to be in line with the requests made by consumer authorities, Facebook and, more significantly, Twitter, have only partially addressed important issues about their liability and about how users are informed of possible content removal or contract termination.

When it comes to the “notice and action procedure” used by consumer protection authorities to report and request the removal of illegal content, the changes by some companies are insufficient. While Google+ has set up a protocol, including deadlines to deal with the requests, Facebook and Twitter have only agreed to provide a dedicated e-mail address that national authorities can use to notify infringements, without committing to deal with such requests within specific timeframes.

Following numerous complaints by consumers who had been targeted by fraud or scams when using these websites, as well as having been subject to certain terms of services that do not respect EU consumer law, an enforcement action was launched in November 2016.

Since then, social media operators specifically agreed to amend:

  • the terms of services limiting or totally excluding the liability of social media networks in connection with the performance of the service;
  • the terms requiring consumers to waive mandatory EU consumer rights, such as their right to withdraw from an on-line purchase;
  • the terms depriving consumers of their right to go to court in their Member State of residence, and providing the application of California law;
  • the term releasing the platform from the duty to identify commercial communications and sponsored content.

The companies committed to implement the changes to their terms in all language versions in the first quarter of 2018.

Next steps

As already stated in its Communication on tackling illegal content online published in September 2017, the Commission expects online platforms to swiftly and proactively detect, remove and prevent the re-appearance of illegal content online. The Commission is currently working on the follow-up actions to this Communication.

The national consumer authorities and the Commission will monitor the implementation of the promised changes and will actively use the notice and action procedure provided by the companies. They will focus on illegal commercial content concerning unwanted subscriptions and other scams. Moreover, authorities may take action including enforcement measures where necessary.

The Commission will present in April a ‘New Deal for Consumers’. This reform will propose to modernise the existing consumer law and ensure that they are properly enforced.

Background

On 16 March 2017, EU consumer authorities and the European Commission met with the companies to hear and discuss their proposed solutions. Following this meeting, the companies have made certain changes to their terms and conditions. However, the Commission and consumer authorities consider that further changes have to be made urgently (see press release).

The Consumer Protection Cooperation authorities, under the lead of the French Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), sent a common position to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in November 2016 asking them to improve a number of contract terms and set up a system to tackle illegal commercial content upon notification[1].

The EU Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation link national consumer authorities in a pan-European enforcement network. Thanks to this framework, a national authority in one EU country can call on their counterpart in another EU country to ask them to intervene in case of a cross-border infringement of EU consumer rules. Cooperation is common to various consumer-related pieces of legislation, such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the E-commerce Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive or the Unfair Contract Terms Directive.

Under the CPC framework, authorities regularly review issues of common concern for consumer protection in the Single Market and coordinate their market surveillance and potential enforcement actions. The Commission facilitates the exchange of information among authorities and their coordination.

Online platforms need to take greater responsibility in content governance. The Communication provides common tools to swiftly and proactively detect, remove and prevent illegal content online from reappearing.

For more information

Table with the changes to the terms and conditions

 

[1] Please note that any assessment made in this action is without prejudice to any future assessment of compliance of the contract terms by CPC authorities or in judicial proceedings.

IP/18/761

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass Separatists

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass SeparatistsReading Time: 1 minute

Pro-Russian separatist groups of the Donbass War (Eastern Ukraine) receive material funds from illegal gambling business, states a recent article published in the Russian Sobesednik magazine. According to article, part of the illegal profits of the online casinos is used to finance the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

As reported by GC Alor analysts, the black turnover of these Russian online casinos is around 200 billion RUR (2,725,065,200.00 Euro). The Majority of these online casinos are registered in foreign administrations, like Azino777 being registered in Curacao.

As experts say, many online casinos are physically based in Ukraine, where the legislation is slightly more loyal than Russian. It is allowed, for example, to develop gaming software for third-party customers. Lucky Labs company, which is linked to the online casino “Vulcan”, operates in Ukraine as software developer.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, which conducted searches at the office of the company lately, Lacky Labs also controls the websites of CasinoX and Joycasino. The company’s office is big. It is a 4-storey building designed for 150 people. There is also a basement area where there is a kitchen and a dining room, a gym.

Lucky Labs was founded by two Russians. Because of the sanctions imposed by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, now they are not allowed to enter the country. However, Lucky Labs continues to exist. Now the company is registered by an Ukrainian citizen.

If some of the profits of illegal online casino go to pro-Russian patriotic purposes, it becomes clear why Roskomnadzor does not block their Internet addresses. The correspondent of “Sobesednik” managed to access the mentioned online casinos without any obstacles, using no VPN or “mirrors”.

 

Source: sobesednik.ru


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Play’n GO ‘Slots’ Into 1st Place!

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Play'n GO 'Slots' Into 1st Place!Reading Time: 2 minutes

Company celebrates EGR victory with Slot Provider of the Year Award

 

June 22, 2018 – Play’n GO were honoured at the EGR B2B Awards on Wednesday (20thJune) as they took home the highly coveted Slot Provider of the Year Award, beating out some strong competition.

The awards, held in London’s prestigious Hurlingham Club, “celebrates and rewards the very best service suppliers in the online gaming industry” and Play’n GO were honoured to have been nominated in numerous categories including Innovation in Mobile and Best Multi-Channel Supplier.

Play’n GO were recognised for their remarkable offerings in the slot market over the past year including innovative games such as Viking Runecraft, Sweet Alchemy and Moon Princessas well as many other popular titles.

CEO Johan Törnqvist was delighted to pick up the win, and believes it is a reflection of the company’s hard work.

“It’s an honour to pick up such a sought-after award, especially with the level of competition in the category. As a company we work hard to put out the finest, most entertaining, offering to our partners in the market, and winning this award is a testament to that. We have consistently been recognised in the industry for the innovative products we release and it’s our job not to rest on our laurels, but to continue innovating”

 

About Play’n GO

Play’n GO is an award-winning supplier of high quality gaming content to many of the world’s leading casino brands.  Its genuine omni-channel solution can be tailored to suit the needs of individual online and land-based partners, regardless of geographical, regulatory, or market-specific requirements. Its games are developed in HTML5 to provide an enhanced user experience on all devices and operating systems. These are complemented by superior back-office administration tools which provide expansive reporting and marketing capabilities, ensuring operators are equipped to provide the ultimate gaming experience. The supplier’s extensive portfolio was recently recognised by the award of the IGA Slot Provider of the Year 2017 title. Play’n GO currently hold offices in Sweden, Malta, Hungary, and the UK. Please visit http://www.playngo.com for more details.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including Gambling

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including GamblingReading Time: 1 minute

Poland’s lower house (Sejm) has voted down five Senate amendments to a comprehensive amendment to several tax bills, including gambling.

The adopted amendments may be applied retroactively, which is to the income earned from January 1 2018.
Gamblers will be treated in a uniform manner after the changes.

Adopted by the Sejm on May 10th of this year extensive amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act (PIT), the Corporate Income Tax Act (CIT) and the Act on flat-rate income tax on certain revenues earned by natural persons; that all winnings on machines will be exempt from PIT, the tax relief for creators will be extended to the next creative professions, the real estate income tax will be larger. This applies to provisions adopted last autumn and effective from January 1st 2018.

Unlike the regulations adopted in autumn, the amendment assumes for example, that participants of legal gambling will be treated in a uniform manner. Regardless of whether the games are organized by casino operators or a company performing a state monopoly in this area, which would be Totalizator Sportowy. In line with the provisions changed by the Sejm and approved by the Senate on Thursday, winnings in slot machine games, card games, dice games and cylindrical games – regardless of which legally operating entities organize them – will be exempt from personal income tax.

In the remaining scope, the rules of taxing winnings (in numerical games, cash lotteries, mutual bets, etc.) are to remain unchanged in relation to the provisions currently in force. Pursuant to the amendment of October 27th 2017, winnings in gambling are subject to a l0% PIT tax on winning if their one-time value of winning exceeds PLN 2,280 (528 Euro).


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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