Ireland signed declaration of concern but won’t regulate lockboxes as gambling


Remember two weeks ago when a bunch of representatives from the Europe and US cosigned a declaration noting concerns over skin-betting and lockboxes at the 2018 Gambling Regulators European Forum? Nothing signed at the forum was binding, of course, merely a warning shot.

That said, at least one national cosignatory has since admitted it has no actual plans to do anything about the “blurring of lines between gaming and gambling.” That’d be the country of Ireland, as its Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration, and Integration, David Stanton, told Irish senators last week.

“Where a game offers the possibility of placing a bet or the taking of risk for financial reward within the game, then, in my view it must be licensed as a gambling product. To offer gambling products in Ireland, a license is required under the Betting Acts 1931-2015 or the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. The Revenue Commissioners are the primary responsible licensing authority under both Acts, with some involvement of the Minister for Justice and Equality. However, it should be understood, that if a game offers in-game purchases – be they loot boxes, skins, etc. – which are promoted to gamers as increasing their chances of success, such purchases are essentially a commercial or e-commerce activity. This activity would fall within normal consumer law.”

Consequently, he said, Ireland’s Department of Justice “does not have a role to regulate game developers on how their games work nor, in the offering of in-game purchases.” However, as both our sources note, Ireland is in the process of revamping its gambling laws and creating a new gambling regulatory body in the country.

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