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DraftKings CIO: "Lack of social-gaming regulation is preposterous"


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>The Chief International Officer of operator DraftKings has called for more regulation in social gaming, labelling the current situation "preposterous."   Jeffrey Haas is unhappy players are not being offered the same protections as they are by regulated gaming operators, and believes this will reflect badly on the gaming industry.   Speaking at last week's IGB Live show, Haas said: "I think the current lack of regulation for social gaming is preposterous. There is a significant element of potential harm to consumers if they play irresponsibly, where they cannot set deposit limits, play limits or loss limits. These social gaming companies are generating hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenues, and how can we be sure they are running fair games? How can we be sure they are protecting consumers?   "Regulators will come in at some point, whether it's in banking, consumer affairs or gaming. I think it's important to be ahead of the curve with these things, to ensure operators are operating with integrity and consumers are protected, so that they don't lose money they can't afford to. The result of which could be a bad thing for any company that operates within the gaming industry or even gaming/entertainment."    Social gaming has provoked similar debates as to the discussions about Haas' own employers, when DraftKings operated in a previously totally unregulated daily fantasy sports (DFS) market in the US.   Similar to the DFS debate, much of the discussion centres on whether the games class as gambling and whether they can lead to harmful behaviour.   In Great Britain, for example, the Gambling Commission has distanced itself from regulation, arguing it has yet to see overwhelming evidence of players spending large amounts on games or playing irresponsibly.   Haas added: "We as an industry, and this is the case in some jurisdictions more than others, have failed to proactively address consumer safety issues. Any gaming company, and not necessarily gambling company, should be thinking about their best practice with any product that could potentially harm players."   Loot boxes, which are groups of virtual items within games that can be given to players randomly or sold for real money, have also been investigated by regulators around the world.   Nicholas Aquilina, Associate at law firm Brandl & Talos, was speaking on the same panel as Haas, and said: "There should not be a one-size-fits-all approach to this. There should be specific lightweight regulation for loot boxes. Regulation for all social gaming might not work if a new game comes along that doesn't fit into that."   Carl Brincat, Deputy General Counsel at Malta Gaming Authority, added: "In Malta, we have regulation for gambling and skill gaming separately. Game development can change and a new type of game could make a whole legislative framework unapplicable."
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