To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the Isle of Man's enhanced protections against illegal and in-game gambling and loot boxes; and what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on adopting such protections in the UK.
16 October 2017
The Gambling Commission released a position paper in March 2017 detailing existing protections in place for in-game gambling, virtual currencies and loot boxes. The paper can be found on the Commission’s website at the following link: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/Virtual-currencies-eSports-and-social-casino-gaming.pdf
Where items obtained in a computer game can be traded or exchanged outside the game platform they acquire a monetary value, and where facilities for gambling with such items are offered to consumers located in Britain a Gambling Commission licence is required. If no licence is held, the Commission uses a wide range of regulatory powers to take action.
Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is one of the core objectives of the regulation of gambling in Great Britain and a priority for the government. The Gambling Commission have a range of regulatory powers to take action where illegal gambling is taking place. Earlier this year the Gambling Commission successfully prosecuted the operators of a website providing illegal gambling facilities for in-game items which was accessible to children - the first regulator in the world to bring such an action.
The government recognise the risks that come from increasing convergence between gambling and computer games. The Gambling Commission is keeping this matter under review and will continue to monitor developments in the market.