France's online gaming authority (ARJEL, Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne) has decided that loot boxes in
premium-priced games are not gambling. It determined that loot boxes are not legally considered gambling, and therefore are not gambling.
However, ARJEL will continue to monitor the matter and is also calling for more unilateral support from the European Union in order to achieve a sound consensus on whether or not to consider loot boxes gambling.
According to ARJEL, the fact that you can't readily cash out your rewards from loot boxes for real-world currency means that in the minds of regulators it's not quite gambling. For them, the only way it would be gambling is if players could
actually retrieve the money that they invested into the product.
However, ARJEL also believes that loot boxes do contain questionable psychological hooks that work very similar to slot machines and roulette wheels in terms of luring gamers into a feeling of needing to spend more money in order to acquire the
item they seek.
The Dutch gambling authority will enforce a new ban on loot boxes. They identified four games that offer loot boxes that are considered gambling. According to the public broadcast company these games are FIFA 18, DOTA 2 , PlayerUnknown's
BattleGrounds and Rocket League .
These games had until the 20th of June to make changes to the gambling aspect of their loot boxes. Starting from Thursday the gambling authority will enforce the rules. Fines can be 830.000 euro (960.000 dollar) or 10% of the company's worldwide
revenue. If they don't make changes, the public prosecutor will look into prosecution.
Swiss voters will decide on Sunday whether to back a new gambling law designed to restrict online gambling to a state
monopoly or reject what opponents say amounts to internet censorship.
Recent polls indicate a clear majority plan support the new law, which has already been passed by both houses of parliament, and now is being put to a referendum.
The Swiss government says the Gambling Act updates legislation for the digital age. If approved by voters, the law would be among the strictest in Europe and would only allow casinos and gaming companies certified in Switzerland to operate,
including on the internet. This would enable Swiss companies for the first time to offer online gambling, but would basically block foreign-based companies from the market.
Bern also wants all of the companies' proceeds to be taxed in Switzerland, with revenues helping fund anti-addiction measures, as well as social security and sports and culture programmes.
The new law represents a windfall for Switzerland's casinos, which had put huge amounts of money into campaigning.
Opponents have slammed Bern for employing methods worthy of an authoritarian state, with a measure that they claim is censorship of the internet.
Swiss voters have overwhelmingly approved blocking foreign-based betting sites in a referendum on a new gambling law designed to create a local monopoly.
72.9% of voters came out in favor of the new gambling law.
The law, which is set to take effect next year, will be among the strictest in Europe, allowing only casinos and gaming companies certified in Switzerland to operate in the country, including on the internet.
It will enable Swiss companies for the first time to offer online gambling, but will basically block foreign-based companies from the market.
If all things were equal, it would seem eminently sensible to ban 100 quid spins on a gambling machine; ban junk food shops for making people fat; ban
pubs for being unhealthy... But if you do all of these you will end up with some pretty desolate high streets, and an awful lot of people staying in and pumping all their money to the foreign media and retail giants such as Amazon, Netflix and
20th Century Fox Murdoch Sky Sports.
Government to cut Fixed Odds Betting Terminals maximum stake from £100 to £2
The maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are to be reduced from £100 to £2 to reduce the risk of gambling-related harm, Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch announced today.
The move comes off the back of a consultation with the public and the industry to ensure that we have the right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to
protect consumers and communities.
The government wants to reduce the potential for large losses on FOBT (B2) machines and the risk of harm to both the player and wider communities. Following analysis of consultation responses and advice from the Gambling Commission, the government
believes that a cut to £2 will best achieve this.
The Gambling Commission has also been tasked to take forward discussions with the industry to improve player protection measures on B1 and B3 category machines, looking at spend and time limits.
DCMS Secretary of State Matt Hancock said:
When faced with the choice of halfway measures or doing everything we can to protect vulnerable people, we have chosen to take a stand. These machines are a social blight and prey on some of the most vulnerable in society, and we are determined
to put a stop to it and build a fairer society for all.
Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch said:
Problem gambling can devastate individuals' lives, families and communities. It is right that we take decisive action now to ensure a responsible gambling industry that protects the most vulnerable in our society. By reducing FOBT stakes to £2 we
can help stop extreme losses by those who can least afford it.
While we want a healthy gambling industry that contributes to the economy, we also need one that does all it can to protect players. We are increasing protections around online gambling, doing more on research, education and treatment of problem
gambling and ensuring tighter rules around gambling advertising. We will work with the industry on the impact of these changes and are confident that this innovative sector will step up and help achieve this balance.
In addition to the reduction to FOBT stakes the government has today confirmed:
The Gambling Commission will toughen up protections around online gambling including stronger age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers' spending until affordability checks have been conducted.
A major multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling, supported by industry and GambleAware, will be launched later this year.
The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) has amended its code to ensure that a responsible gambling message will appear for the duration of all TV adverts.
Public Health England will carry out a review of the evidence relating to the public health harms of gambling.
As part of the next licence competition the age limit for playing National Lottery games will be reviewed, to take into accounts developments in the market and the risk of harm to young people.
In order to cover any negative impact on the public finances, and to protect funding for vital public services, this change will be linked to an increase in Remote Gaming Duty, paid by online gaming operators, at the relevant Budget.
Changes to the stake will be through secondary legislation. The move will need parliamentary approval and we will also engage with the gambling industry to ensure it is given sufficient time to implement and complete the technological changes.
B1 machines are in casinos with a maximum stake of £5 with a maximum pay-out of £10,000 (or progressive jackpot of £20,000)
B2 gaming machines, are those being talked about in bookies
B3 machines are located in casino, betting, arcade and bingo venues with a maximum stake of £2 and a maximum pay-out of £500.