A new discussion paper released by the UK Gambling Commission UKGC has specifically cautioned e-gaming Operators to be more proactive in seeking licensing.
Contemporary Grey Areas
The paper was released by the UKGC to address concerns regarding potential grey areas of licensing jurisdiction as applied to virtual currencies, e-sports and social gaming.
Integration Breeds Confusion
The UKGC announced the necessity in specific response to what it called “the blurring of lines” between social gaming products, gambling activity, continuous technological advances and the expansion of digital or virtual currencies.
Recent Cryptocurrency Update
This updated stance comes on the heels of the recent addition of a clause in its licence conditions and codes of practice permitting the use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin as a valid method of payment for patrons playing on the sites of UKGC-licensed operators.
Skins in e-Sports
The focus on e-sports has picked up specifically due to concerns over skins betting and its appeal to minors.
The UKGC concerns about e-gaming are likely the result of a highly publicized $7.4 billion (€6.7 billion) illegal (unlicensed) gambling lawsuit filed in the US against Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) creator Valve as a result of untoward activity on the leading games developer Steam´s platform.
The allegations were attached to the skins Valve sold being accepted by some betting operators as collateral for wagers. The aftermath saw Valve ban skins betting operators such as CSGO Lounge from Steam.
UKGC Stance Explained
UKGC general counsel Neil McArthur explained his organization´s priority as ensuring that “consumers are protected and that children and other vulnerable people are not harmed or exploited by gambling.”
McArthur identified further key concerns regarding the use of virtual currencies and ‘in-game’ items for gaming, apparently as ways in which players might tend to lose control of their betting activity in the heat of the moment.
This comes off as a gentle reminder by the UKGC that all virtual gaming operators are responsible for preventing betting activity on their sites or partner platforms unless they have licenses. Further, unlicensed partner betting activity can come back on UK virtual gaming operators not licensed for wagering as well.