The Legal Status of Loot Boxes in Gaming

The most intense criticism of loot boxes came in late 2017 after being stoked by the Star Wars Battlefront 2’s subsequently-revised progression system. For a while after that, it seemed that the conversation had cooled a little with industry working conditions and net neutrality regulations taking the center stage for a while. This was, however, short-lived s regulators from around the worlds began to crack down on the practice citing concerns that the loot boxes were promoting gambling both illegally and to underage people.

This turned the issue from being a mere consumer criticism to a full-fledged legal question. In Belgium, for instance, the government is of the opinion that loot boxes are a form of gambling and should thus be regulated in the same that all other forms of gambling are. Other countries have taken similar stands as well and in 2019 we should expect even more twists in as far this particular issue is concerned.

As it is, much of the legal battle involving loot boxes revolves around concepts of transferability, real money value as well as publisher profits. Transferability refers to the whether or not items offered by the loot boxes are tradeable which would make them commodities in real money transactions. It has been argued that the game publishers are profiting indirectly off the aftermarket value items that are found in the loot boxes offered in their games – this is simply because increased value of potential rewards increases the demand.

The Crackdown on Loot Boxes

The crackdown on various loot box mechanics began in the Netherlands in early 2018 after the country’s gaming authority found 4 out of 10 games it investigated to be in need of a gambling license if they were to continue operating within its borders. This was followed by a number of media reports which named Dota 2, Rocket League, FIFA 18 and PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds as these first wave offenders. Other countries also began to look into loot boxes at about the same time – these included the United Kingdom, the United States, China, South Korea, and Australia.

What Is in Store for Loot Boxes in 2019?

Well, one thing is for sure – even though several governments are regulators are seriously investigating loot boxes, the law is more often than not very sluggish when it comes to catching up with changing realities of the information age. That said, this sluggishness is certainly bound to leave loot boxes in the legal grey area in many parts of the world which might be a problem in the future in case some of the loot boxes do indeed promote gambling.

Carmen Thompson

Carmen is our residential reporter always on the move and hunting down the latest scoops and rumours to explore. Nothing gets past her keen nose, especially when it comes to some serious Jelly Bean poker tournaments.

$250 Million Casino Proposed for Pope County

It was recently announced that a Mississippi-based casino plans to build a $250 million complex in Pope County, something that has been subject to an almost equal measure of opposition and support. In a letter submitted to the Arkansas Racing Commission by the Gulfside Casino Partnership, outgoing Pope County Judge Jim Ed Gibson declared his support for casino gaming in the region. Gulfside, during their announcement, revealed that it has plans to build a $250 million resort casino if approved by the state’s gaming regulator – this would be done in three phases and would be completed in mid-2020. This comes just a little over a month after voters in Arkansas approved Issue 4 (currently referred to as Amendment 100) which allowed for expanded casino operations at Southland and Oaklawn as well as new casinos in Pope and Jefferson Counties.

According to Terry Green, the co-owner of Gulfside Casino Partnership, the $250 million casino project will be great for the casino will be great for the county as it will create over 1,5000 new jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenue once it goes live. This will greatly improve infrastructure and overall quality of life in the state.

So far, most local elected officials have been the biggest opposers of the proposed casino. Last Friday, Pope County Judge-elect Ben Cross who will be taking office today (January 1, 2019) said he was opposed to the casino being built in the county.

“It is with great discouragement and dismay to have learned of the actions of the current county judge in regards to the casino issue. To have a lame duck official act in total disregard to the express wishes of the residents of Pope County is appalling and a complete affront to our representative democracy,” Cross said in a statement.

Support from the Outgoing Mayor

On his last day in office, Russellville Mayor Randy Horton expressed his support for the proposal to build the 600-room hotel and casino in Pope County despite the strong opposition from some the residents as well as an ongoing lawsuit over another official’s support for the project. Randy Horton who lost his reelection bid joins outgoing County Judge Jim Ed Gibson in supporting the Gulfside Casino partnership which happens to have ties to a group that operates a casino on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

During his election campaign, Mr. Horton largely dodged making a statement in regards to where he stood on the issue of the casino amendment. This presents a very interesting dynamic since Richard Harris, who defeated Horton in the election, is opposed to the casino plans. Furthermore, the residents of Pope County largely voted against the constitutional amendment expanding gambling but it was statewide approval that counted in the long run.

As per the terms of the amendment, only approval from a county judge or mayor – depending on the location that the casino developer will choose – is required for the casino application to be approved in Jefferson of Pope County.


Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.

Casino Gambling May Finally Be Headed to Virginia

Three cities in Virginia have will be joining forces in a bid to bring casino gambling to the state, the main reason being that they hope the industry will assist in securing revenue amid the state’s current financial struggles. Two of the cities – Portsmouth and Bristol – have already made it clear that they are all in with the plans to persuade the government of Virginia to legalize casino gambling and Danville, the third city, is on track to join them. Members of Danville’s City Council are currently gearing to pass similar resolutions as the other two cities within the next few days.

As it stands, casino gambling is still an illegal activity in the state of Virginia and to make the situation even worse than it already is, the state’s Legislature has consistently thrown any attempts to introduce online gambling in the state under the bus. Even though this has gone on for decades, in 2018, lawmakers have high hopes that the stance of the state may finally be softening following the legalization of the historical horse race betting.

Two Virginia lawmakers, with support from Bristol, have begun work on a bill that is expected to allow the residents of the city to vote on the potential construction of a casino in a referendum – this bill will be introduced during the 2019 legislative session of Virginia’s General Assembly. According to Randy Eads, the Bristol City Manager, the city is in dire need of an opportunity to improve its financial situation especially because its debt load “is getting ready to increase dramatically over the next several years”. He believes that the gambling revenue will be very useful in alleviating these financial issues not just for Bristol but for other cities in the state as well.

The Bristol City Manager is also confident that the casino effort will face very little opposition after it passed all of the hurdles in the state’s legislature. However, this claim might be too optimistic especially considering the fact that a Bristol family organization has already launched an effort that opposes the establishment of a casino resort in the city. The family argues that any gambling activity in the state would only lead to “addiction, poverty, higher crime, prostitution, sex trafficking, drugs, diminished poverty values, etc.”

Proposed Developments

While the other cities have been making tremendous strides towards the push for the legalization of sports betting and online gambling, Bristol has been more proactive in pursuing the agenda. Developers in the city have even gone as far as pitching a $150-million plan for a casino resort in the city which they believe will come with new jobs and revenue for the region and the state. Members of the city council have also expressed confidence that, if the project materializes, it could result in a much-needed economic boost in the region.

Sophia Rojas

Growing up around law firms, Sophia keeps our team of reporters atop any legislative developments to follow up with a welcomed dose of positive news as our house trivia nut!

MLB Inks US, Japan Gambling Deal With MGM

MGM Resorts International has recently entered into a new partnership and endorsement of the Major League Baseball, a move that is expected to significantly improve its sportsbook game. The partnership deal between the two will encompass gambling rights between in both the United States and Japan and will see MGM Resorts International become the official sponsor of the NBA, the MLB, and WNBA as well as the NHL. With all these partnerships, MGM Resorts International now boasts of official sponsorships of three out of the five major sports leagues in the US. As it stands, the only pro sports league that has been left out is the National Football League but even they have given their individual teams the liberty to choose to get sponsorships.

However, of all the professional sports leagues in the United States, the Major League Baseball has been the most vocal when it comes to the issues of sports betting challenging the integrity of sporting activities. This is very understandable considering the fact the MLB has been the scene of two of the biggest gambling scandals in US history – they naturally have to be wary. As such, when inking the sponsorship with MGM, the league was very open about its plans to ensure the integrity of the sports, something that they hope to achieve by asking MGM to include additional integrity management measures into the sponsorship deal.

What the Deal Entails

As per the terms of the agreement, MGM Resorts International will be allowed to promote itself with the MLB network and the MLB teams. In addition to that, the gambling operator will also be allowed to set up shops at stadiums as well as MGM properties which promote baseball and demonstrate baseball technique. To facilitate most of these plans, the company has plans of launching small pop-up sites that will be offering pitching techniques, batting practice, baserunning practice as well as practice with other important fundamentals of the game.

MGM Resorts will also be running its commercials on the MLB network and the MLB’s At Batt app while branding itself as the MLB’s authorized gaming company. The gaming company will also be highly represented at major events in the league’s events including the All-Star Game and playoffs – this will also be the same for such events as the League of Championships, the Division Series, and the World Series.

One thing that is hard to dismiss is the fact that the new deal with the MLB effectively gives MGM Resorts International a near monopoly on league sponsorships in the United States. In fact, the company has reportedly been in talks with some NFL teams and we should, therefore, expect news of newer partnerships or sponsorships in the near future.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Congressional Hearing on Sports Betting Held

Just a few months ago, the American federal government legalized sports betting by overturning PASAPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992). Since then, we have seen many states begin offering sports betting services to their residents, several international operators make their way into the market and a few sports league announce betting partnerships.

Now that we know there is huge potential for growth in the American sports betting market, it’s time to determine the best way forward. To ensure that we go about this in the right way, the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, held a hearing to find out what various industry professionals think of the newly legalized sports betting industry.

Perspectives from Both Sides

The hearing was quite balanced, hearing from a number of industry professionals from different areas. Pro gambling campaigners, anti-gambling activists and executives in the sporting world were all present to make their voices heard. These included:

  • Sara Slane of the American Gaming Association
  • Becky Harris of the Nevada Gaming Control Board
  • Jocelyn Moore of the NFL
  • Jon Bruning, a counsellor for Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG)
  • Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling

One of the major concerns by many anti-gambling advocates was the protection of the integrity of sport. Moore’s testimony even quoted a portion of PASPA, which said:

“Sports gambling conducted pursuant to State law threatens the integrity and character of, and public confidence in, professional and amateur sports, instills inappropriate values in the Nation’s youth, misappropriates the goodwill and popularity of professional and amateur sports organizations, and dilutes and tarnishes the service marks of such organizations.”

Push for Federal Policies

Moving forward, there is the need for strict policies in placed to regulate the sports betting market. While it was argued that these are needed on a federal level, states have already started this process and have been successful so far.

New Jersey, for example, has quickly put together a sports betting framework that is working.  In fact, the state has already enacted regulations that congress is likely to consider when introducing sports betting policies.

New Jersey has been able to draw up rules and regulations that ensure gaming operators have the best interests of punters at heart while being able to generate impressive income from betting. Other states, and even congress itself, should certainly take a look at the way New Jersey is regulating its sports betting market for a great example of how it’s done. With these rules in mind, congress could certainly regulate sports betting in such a way that protects the integrity of sports.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

UK Labour Party Suggests Gambling Changes

The UK Labour Party has called for a number of changes in the gambling industry. The politicians are concerned about the health impacts that gambling has on residents across the country, and wants to take steps to prevent problem gambling from spreading.

All of the recommendations follow a year-long consultation on the topic. The Labour Party worked with charities, gambling addiction experts, gaming operators and problem gamblers themselves. Their goal is to reduce the number of problem gamblers across the UK.

A Ban on Gambling Ads

Taking a cue from the Australian government, the Labour Party has suggested that gambling ads are banned during live sports broadcasts. This would also include the showing or mentioning of live odds during the game. It is suggested to be a “whistle to whistle” ban that would stop gambling operators from advertising before, during and after matches.

Lawmakers in Australia have already enacted a similar ban. Gambling operators are no longer permitted to advertise their products during matches. No ads can be shown from 5am until 8:30pm, and the ban was recently extended to online streams.

The idea behind the ban is stop people from associating sports with gambling. It allows spectators to enjoy the game without being tempted to wager on it. This is particularly important with regards to young viewers, who may grow up thinking that it is necessary to bet on sports to be a true fan.

Ban on Credit Card Betting

The Labour Party has also suggested banning the use of credit cards at casinos. Currently, up to £8.6 billion worth of online gambling transactions are made using credit cards. While it is a convenient option for punters, there is the danger that players who are already in debt could dig themselves even deeper.

Additionally, the Labour Party also wants to give players the power to stop their bank from allowing transactions to online casinos. At the moment, self-exclusion is available at gaming sites, but players also have the option of visiting a new casino if they decide that they want to play again. By allowing players to put a stop on transactions from the bank itself, they would be able to get to the root of the problem and not be able to play again so easily.

These plans have received a positive response so far, and many have said that they “hit the nail on the head”. Tackling problem gambling is an important issue, and politicians should also work harder to prevent young people from being enticed by gambling as well. The Labour Party’s recommendations could make an important impact on problem gambling rates across the country, and it is hoped that the government takes them on board.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Gambling Ads Banned During Sports Streams in AU

The Australian government has been cracking down on gambling ads during sporting events on television for quite some time, and now the focus has shifted to online streams. In a recent decision, lawmakers have banned all advertisements that promote gambling during events that are streamed online from 5am to 8:30pm.

No Ads On Any Sports Broadcasts

Earlier this year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) stated that any proposed changes could be made to the ban by July 26. During that time, ACMA worked together with the Australian government to come up with amendments that would limit the amount of exposure for gambling operators during live sports broadcasts online. The new laws now that no gambling ads can be shown between 5am and 8:30, and this will take effect on September 28.

Originally, regulations stated that no restrictions would be placed on “low audience” sports channels – which attract under 100 000 users per month. However, this is no longer the case. Gambling ads will be banned across all online channels, no matter how many viewers tune in to watch sports on the sites.

A Plan to Reduce Problem Gambling

The idea behind banning gambling ads across online and television sports broadcasts is to help drive down problem gambling rates across the country, and to prevent young people from becoming interesting in wagering on sports. Problem gambling numbers in Australia are quite high when compared to other countries, and it is believed that is sports spectators see fewer gambling ads they will not feel compelled to wager on the games.

The government also wants to separate the activities of gambling and betting. Problem gambler experts believe that young people who watch sports and see gambling ads may not be able to separate the sport from wagering, thinking that it’s essential to be a true fan. Without gambling ads being played during matches, it is hoped that fewer young people will get involved with betting and other gambling activities.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin says:

“This brings online services in line with television and radio broadcasting services. It creates a safe zone for children and families to watch live sport across a variety of platforms.”

There will be a test period of 12 months until September 2019. At this time, ACMA and the Australian government will review the ban to determine whether or not the new gambling guidelines are effective in the decline of problem gambling rates. If there is not a significant change, then more revisions will be made to continue to help prevent problem gambling from becoming a larger problem across the country.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

Australian Gambling Ban Could Encompass Streaming

Over the course of the past year, the Australian government has been making some big changes to its online gambling laws. Lawmakers have been working hard to prevent children from viewing gambling content during sports matches on television, and now they have their sights set on live streams.

A Safe Zone for Children

The Australian Communications and Media Authority have proposed restrictions on when gambling ads can be shown during sports broadcasts. The safe zone bans these types of advertisements during times when children are more likely to be tuned in, and the ACMA is looking to revise its rules to include live streams between the hours of 5pm and 8:30pm.

Currently, there are strict rules in place for sports broadcasts during the evening, when children are likely to be home and watching television. The promotion of gambling odds is banned from five minutes before play to five minutes after play and gambling representatives are not permitted on the ground. Commentators have also been banned from promoting odds from 30 minutes before play to 30 minutes after play.

The rules change somewhat after 8:30pm, when no gambling is permitted only during play. The promotion of odds continues to be banned during play and in-play breaks but is allowed before and after the games.

It is likely these same rules will apply to live streams. However, since young people are likely to watch streams from mobile devices, the gambling ad ban may have to extend its hours.

Concerns About Underage Gambling

Australian lawmakers have been concerned about underage gambling for quite some time. Across the country, gambling rates among young people are on the rise. A study by Central Coast Gambling Help found that between 80% and 90% of adolescents gamble in any given year, with 10% to 15% of them being at risk of developing problem gambling behaviours.

Many young people who participate in gambling do so by taking part in card games, buying lottery tickets and playing scratch cards – but there are some who partake in more risky behaviour like placing wagers on sports and playing pokies. In fact, over 10 000 underage individuals attempted to sneak in to Adelaide Casino in just one year.

It is believed that gambling ads are a major contributor to this behaviour. Children see content promoting gambling from a very young age, and they are taught to normalise the behaviour without considering the risks. As such, the idea behind banning ads during hours when young people are watching television is aimed at limiting their exposure. It has the potential to make a positive impact, but there is still a long way to go before underage gambling is no longer a problem in Australia.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.