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Washington State Could Lead Charge Against Loot Boxes in Online Gaming

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Washington State Could Lead Charge Against Loot Boxes in Online GamingReading Time: 3 minutes

Washington state Senator Kevin Ranker introduced legislation bill in January that seeks an answer to this question: If they look, sound, and seem like gambling, are online-game loot boxes really gambling?

And more importantly, do these loot boxes, sometimes known as “loot crates,” which demand real money from game players for a chance to win in-game items, prey upon unsuspecting children?

Loot boxes or crates are virtual items in online games that a player can redeem to receive more virtual items for his avatar or character. It’s a way for online and mobile gaming companies to make money. The players can purchase the boxes outright, with cash, or buy keys to open the boxes.

China, Japan and Australia already regulate loot boxes.

PC Gamer reported Sweden’s Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi said his country might classify loot boxes as gambling next year.

“It is obvious that there are many people suffering from gambling addiction, who also get stuck in this type of gambling and lose money because of it,” Shekarabi said.

What the bill says is, ‘Industry, state: sit down to figure out the best way to regulate this,’” Ranker told the Tacoma News Tribune. “It is unacceptable to be targeting our children with predatory gambling masked in a game with dancing bunnies or something.”

If parents realized how predatory these games are,” Ranker said, “they wouldn’t want them under their Christmas tree.”

Hawaii state Rep. Chris Lee’s legislation doesn’t seek to answer the question of whether loot boxes are gambling. To the Democrat’s mind, there is no doubt that they are nothing more than online casinos that should be kept out of the hands of children.

Lee also wants a warning on games that have “gambling-based mechanics” and to state the odds of winning what’s in the loot boxes.

Lee said he fell victim to online game when he download the game Clash of Clans a couple of years ago.

At one point,” Lee told Kotaku, “I started buying crystals. I ended up spending a few hundred dollars over the course of a few months.”

When he realized what he had done, Lee deleted the game from his phone and “there was no value left – it’s just money that’s gone.”

Lee said he wasn’t alone in falling into the trap offered by loot boxes and crates. Teachers in his district told Lee plenty of stories about families who had to pay their kids’ gambling bills.

Lee also said adults, as well as children, need to be protected from “predatory practices in online gaming and the significant financial consequences it has been having on families around this nation.”

I think this is an appropriate time to make sure these issues are addressed before this becomes the new norm for every game,” Lee said.

Fellow Democratic State Rep. Sean Quinlan said during a press conference in support of Lee’s legislation, “We didn’t allow Joe Camel to encourage your kids to smoke cigarettes and we shouldn’t allow Star Wars to encourage our kids to gamble.”

Polygon reported that game players began pushing back against loot crates and boxes last year, as did reviewers of the games.

When you run out of in-game money, you have two choices: Make a huge time investment by hunting down orcs in your game world and earning chests via vendetta missions, or spend some real money to get the more powerful orcs you need now. Does the game ever force you to spend money?” read a Polygon review of the game Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. “No. I’m sure you can get to the end of Shadow Wars without spending a dime, as long as you’re patient and persistent.”

But locking progress through this mode (and, again, toward the game’s secondary ending) behind either spending more money or doing tons of tedious busywork feels at least greedy if not predatory,” the review concluded.

However, the Entertainment Software Rating Board told the Tacoma News Tribune it does not consider loot boxes to be gambling.

While the digital goods within a box or pack are mostly randomized, the player is always gauranteed {sic} to receive in-game content,” an ESRB spokesperson said in an email.

Christopher Hansford, the political engagement director of a new lobbying group that is all about creating an awareness of online gambling, Consumers for Digital Fairness, disagrees.

We’re a group of folks who are sick and tired of seeing people and a medium we love exploited by unfair practices,” Hansford told Polygon. “So we decided to put our skills and experience to work to tackle this issue.”

A CDF statement on the group’s website claimed that loot boxes or crates usually contain nothing but “worthless trash.”

These practices involving real-money inputs and games of chance simply doesn’t belong in video games,” the statement read in part. “These loot boxes would be more at home in casinos and other licensed gaming establishments with adults, not our living rooms in the hands of our children.”

 

Source: pjmedia.com


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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DraftKings joins hands with Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort

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DraftKings joins hands with Scarlet Pearl Casino ResortReading Time: 1 minute

 

US-based DraftKings has signed an agreement with Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort in D’Iberville, Mississippi to officially open DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook. The new facility will start functioning on 16 November 2018. The sportsbook will transform Scarlet Pearl’s existing PRL Bar into a multi-screen betting and social destination for sports lovers.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, whose leadership has a high bar for quality and a forward-thinking approach to sports betting; a perfect fit for DraftKings,” said Matt Kalish, Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder of DraftKings. “We’re excited to bring and offer an innovative sports betting experience to sports fans in one of the largest and most competitive gaming markets in the U.S.”

DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook will offer a superior customer experience that includes the opportunity to wager on dozens of sports. In addition, the sportsbook will soon offer live, in-game betting with three windows, giving sports fans a variety of ways to place their bets. Pending regulatory approval, the sportsbook will incorporate on-site kiosks and an on-premise mobile app.

 “We are excited to introduce DraftKings, a ‘New Way’ to game for our current and future guests,” Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort CEO LuAnn Pappas said. “Our collaboration with DraftKings is an opportunity for us to continue to set high standards on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and give our players a new home for sports betting.”

Directing the Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook team will be Nicholas “Nico” Sfanos, who previously ran sportsbooks for Station Casinos throughout Nevada.

 

Source: 5StarMedia


Source: European Gaming Media

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Aragon and Catalonia officials visit Zitro Games

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Aragon and Catalonia officials visit Zitro GamesReading Time: 1 minute

 

The high officials of Aragon and Catalonia have visited the facilities of Zitro Technological Campus in Barcelona. The visiting team was headed by the Interior Justice Director of the Government of Aragón, Ms. María Ángeles Júlvez León, and the Tax and Gambling Director of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Ms. Natalia Caba Alba. They were accompanied respectively by the Head of Authorisation and Sanctions Service Ms. Elena Pérez Aparicio and by the Gambling Deputy Director Mr. Amadeu Farré i Morel. The team examined the manufacturing process behind each product in detail.

Forming an exceptional entourage, and accompanied by Johnny Viveiros Ortiz, founder of Zitro, Manuela Jiménez, Vice President, Sebastián Salat, CEO, Marta Cuesta, Product Director, and Cristina García, Director of Institutional Relations, the authorities have visited the different departments which are located in the Zitro Technological Campus, where software development, video bingo and video slot game design and Zitro Interactive applications are carried out.

The campus, which is fully devoted to Research + Development + Innovation activities, also has state-of-the-art video and sound recording studios, as well as a plant that’s dedicated to the manufacture and quality control of Zitro and Bryke gaming machines.

Johnny Viveiros Ortiz said that “we are very grateful to the authorities for their interest in learning about our Technology Campus and we are very proud to show them our Factory of Ideas in detail, where Zitro’s great team turns them into unique experiences for players around the world, using the most advanced technology on the market.”


Source: European Gaming Media

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From Alpha to Omega, BetConstruct chooses SiGMA

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From Alpha to Omega, BetConstruct chooses SiGMAReading Time: 2 minutes

 

Staying on a track of the latest regulatory and technological developments, on November 28 to 30 BetConstruct representatives travel to the capital of Malta, to participate in professional networking event SiGMA 2018.

“Malta iGaming Summit started 5 years ago, just when we established our office on the island. Since then the event has grown tremendously, just like BetConstruct, and became one of the most significant exhibitions in our busy calendar of events. Given all that plus a number of our products licensed by Malta Gaming Authority, we simply could not miss the expo.” – said Kristina Hambardzumyan, Regional Director in Malta.

To the world’s igaming village BetConstruct takes its fully-fledged white label offerings for the regulated European market. The line-up of gaming products has RNG and Live Casinos, Skill Games and Poker that has been recently added to our set of licensed products by MGA. As for betting solutions we have Sportsbook, Fantasy Sports and Virtual Sports. FeedConstruct will showcase the company’s data feed products with 4 in 1 solutions and Friendship Platform, a live video stock for federations and sporting video providers.

Alongside our standard package, the gaming products of well-known Malta-licensed casino providers are also available through our platform due to the recently granted approval from the Malta Gaming Authority.

BOOK A MEETING

BetConstruct is an award-winning developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions with development, sales and service centers around the globe.
BetConstruct’s innovative and proven offerings include an extensive range of products and services, including Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Retail Solutions, RNG & Live Dealer Casino, VR Casino, Poker, Skill Games, Fantasy Sports, Social Platform and more. The latest addition is the industry-first complete management infrastructure, SpringBME (Business Management Environment).
All partners benefit from the BetConstruct Spring platform with its powerful back office tools and all-inclusive services that empower operators’ growth and help contain their costs. From stand-alone set up to turn-key and white label solutions, BetConstruct offers its partners unfettered opportunity to succeed.


Source: European Gaming Media

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