Fifteen international gambling regulators led by UK regulator Gambling Commission and the French regulator ARJEL have signed a collaborative agreement to address concerns over the “blurred lines between gambling and video games”.
The agreement follows continued publicity on the legality or otherwise of loot boxes and betting on accessories skins in video games.
It includes a priority commitment to analyse and address “unlicensed third-party websites offering illegal gambling linked to popular video games”, and a call to the video games industry, and technology platforms, to become responsibly involved in ensuring compliance with the laws of the jurisdictions in which their games are used.
Regulatory jurisdictions signing the collaborative commitment include the Washington State Gambling Commission, along with the regulators of Latvia, the Czech Republic, the Isle of Man, Spain’s DGOJ, the Malta Gaming Authority, the Jersey Gaming Commission, the regulators in Gibraltar and Ireland, Portugal, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland.
In a statement issued by the UK Gambling Commission this week and signed by the regulators, the signatories commit to “working together to thoroughly analyse the characteristics of video games and social gaming” and explain that this common action will “enable an informed dialogue with the video games and social gaming industries to ensure the appropriate and efficient implementation of our national laws and regulations.”
Neil McArthur, chief executive for the Gambling Commission, added:
“Each gambling regulator will of course reserve the right to use instruments of enforcement given by its national gambling regulatory framework. We will also work closely with our consumer protection enforcement authorities.
“We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children.
“We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.
“We want parents to be aware of the risks and to talk to their children about how to stay safe online. For example, unlicensed websites offering skins betting can pop up at any time and children could be gambling with money intended for computer game products.”