Gaming and Hospitality Legal News: Volume 12, Number 5

Dickinson Wright
Contact

Dickinson Wright

The Effect of Canada’s Revised Anti-Money Laundering Rules on Casino Operators
Michael D. Lipton, Q.C., Kevin J. Weber and Chantal A. Cipriano

On July 10, 2019, the Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the “Amending Regulations”) were formally released in the Canada Gazette. The formal release follows the June 2018 release of draft Amending Regulations. The Amending Regulations affect several regulated entities, including casinos. As such, casino operators will now face a variety of increased reporting and monitoring requirements. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the increased reporting and monitoring requirements faced by casino operators in the Amending Regulations:

  1. The Amending Regulations require casino operators to report specific types of transactions of $10,000 or more to the Financial Transactions and Analysis Centre of Canada, Likewise, casino operators are also required to report disbursements of $10,000 or more in a single transaction, such as, the redemption of chips, tokens or plaques, or a front cash withdrawal.
  2. Casino operators are required to keep a record of large cash transactions in respect of every amount of $10,000 or more in cash that the casino receives from a person or entity in a single transaction.
  3. Casino operators are required to keep a detailed record of every account that the casino opens. This detailed account is required to include the account holder’s signature card, contact and vital information, as well as other details. In addition, casinos are required to keep a detailed record of every transaction that is conducted within the casino, as per the requirements in sections 74(1)-(2) of the Amending Regulations. It should be noted that the Amending Regulations reduce the extent of the reporting requirement as first laid out in the draft Amending Regulations. The Amending Regulations omit the requirement to include “every known detail” in respect of a transaction.
  4. Casino operators are required to verify the identity of individuals associated with the account. These include for whom the casino opens the account, who is authorized to give instructions in respect of the account, and who conducts a transaction in respect of which the casino is required to keep a record.
  5. The Amending Regulations indicate how a disbursement, as noted in (1) above, of $10,000 in a single transaction is to be defined in respect of electronic transfers of funds. For example, if a casino operator makes two or more disbursements that total $10,000 or more within a period of twenty-four consecutive hours, those disbursements will be deemed to be a single disbursement of $10,000 or more, if the casino operator knows that the disbursements were requested or received, by or on behalf of, the same person or entity.
  6. Casino operators are required to take reasonable steps to determine whether an individual requesting a disbursement is acting on behalf of a third party. To this end, the casino operator must take reasonable measures to obtain the individual’s contact information, and determine the relationship between the third party and the individual making the request.

The effect of the Amending Regulations is to increase reporting and monitoring requirements on regulated entities. As such, regulated entities, including casino operators, will be responsible for asking their clients for additional information, and for adjusting their monitoring systems in order to comply with the new rules.

Video game industry responds to regulation of Pay-to-Win Microtransactions and Loot Boxes
by Patrick Sullivan

Controversy over certain video game features – “microtransactions,” “pay to win” and “loot boxes” – has heated up over the past few months. Because these popular features involve real money and an element of chance, some critics view them as similar to gambling. The criticism has resulted in regulatory scrutiny, legislative action and most recently a self-regulation commitment to disclosure from the largest players in the video game industry. Microtransactions, also known as in-game purchases, are small, online purchases made within video games to access game content and purchase virtual items and in-game virtual currency. Microtransactions in an otherwise free-to-play game is a popular revenue model for many games, including the popular smartphone game Candy Crush and the smash hit Fortnite, which is available for play on consoles, PCs, tablets and smartphones. The free-to-play business model allows players access to high-production value, graphics-rich games at low cost, with some players spending more to access more content. Players can decide how much they want to spend and can experiment with many titles before committing to any one game.

Although microtransactions provide more flexibility for consumers, they also create the potential for backlash from dedicated players who feel that they are having a gaming experience inferior to those players that spend more money. “Pay-to-win” games allow players to buy points or virtual items that give them an advantage in the game, and can, in some cases, lead players to overspend in order to beat the game. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (“ESRB”), an industry group that issues age-based ratings for video games since 1994, began labeling games that included in-game purchases in 2018.

While the pay-to-win model has drawn attention due to some players’ large gaming bills on their own or their parents’ credit cards, it is the use of loot boxes that has invited the most scrutiny from outside the industry. A loot box is an in-game purchase where the virtual content is revealed only after purchase and may contain a “valuable” virtual item based on random chance. Critics complain that when players spend actual money to acquire these loot boxes, the activity starts to resemble gambling.

Traditionally, gambling is defined as an activity in which (1) a person risks something of value on (2) the outcome of an uncertain event, with (3) the opportunity to win a valuable prize. The Entertainment Software Association (“ESA”), the largest video game industry group, has responded to the gambling charge by asserting that, because the virtual goods have no cash value, loot boxes are not gambling.

International jurisdictions have responded in various ways to the new gaming features. Regulators in the Netherlands and Belgium have determined that loot boxes constitute gambling and are therefore prohibited, while the United Kingdom Gambling Commission determined that loot boxes are not gambling and declined to regulate them as such. The European actions were largely in response to the “player packs” available in EA’s popular “FIFA” soccer games, in which the celebrity players are only revealed after purchase, much like packs of physical sports trading cards (which, in fact, have also faced charges of gambling and demands for regulation in the past).

In May of this year, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) along with co-sponsors Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced S. 1629, entitled “A bill to regulate certain pay-to-win microtransactions and sales of loot boxes in interactive digital entertainment products, and for other purposes.” The bipartisan bill would prohibit publishing or distributing any “pay-to-win microtransactions or loot boxes” in “minor-oriented games” or in any game that the game publisher or distributor has “constructive knowledge” that any users are under the age of 18. The bill implicates several issues with which the casino gaming industry is familiar, including participation by minors, compulsive behavior, and regulation of gambling-like features.

The bill describes a broad variety of factors that define a “minor-oriented” game, including the subject matter, visual content, music, age of the characters, celebrities under 18 or celebrities that “appeal to individuals under the age of 18,” advertising materials, or any other evidence that the game targets those under 18. Pay-to-win features and loot boxes would be classified as “unfair or deceptive act or practices” under the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) and the prohibition would be enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general. Finally, the bill calls for reports to Congress by the FTC regarding its enforcement efforts and a study on the use of the prohibited gaming features within two years of enactment, including “psychological effects” of the prohibited features and “compulsive purchasing behavior.” Passage of the bill in its current form appears to be unlikely. A bill similar to the Senate bill was introduced in 2018 in Hawaii but failed to make progress. (See: https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2018/02/12/hawaii-news/bills-target-video-games-with-rewards-for-a-price/ )

Although immediate legislative action is stalled, the Federal Trade Commission has been actively investigating loot boxes and their impact on children playing the games since 2018. As part of this investigation, the FTC held a workshop this month entitled “Inside the Game: Unlocking the Consumer Issues Surrounding Loot Boxes” and is currently seeking public comment on the impact of these game features.

Timed to coincide with the workshop, the ESA issued a press release this month stating that the major game publishers and platform operators (Sony PlayStation, Microsoft XBox / Windows and Nintendo) will, by 2020, voluntarily disclose “information on the relative rarity or probability of obtaining randomized virtual items” in their games.

The current controversy has been going on for some time. In 2017, EA was forced to defend and ultimately modify an early version of its Star Wars: Battlefront II video game, which included a loot box system. The game sold for $80 and included in-game upgrades that could be obtained by earning “crystals” in matches with other players, or by in-game purchases of “boxes” that might randomly contain the same upgrades. EA ended up pulling the in-game purchases from that game in response to complaints that the only realistic way to upgrade the virtual game was to buy “loot crates,” although less interesting crates could also be earned through game play. Although EA eventually pulled the microtransaction system from that game, loot boxes and in-game purchase have only grown and become mainstream, turning the traditional business model of video games with a single up-front purchase price on its head.

Last year, the publisher of the popular free-to-play game Path of Exile, at the request of a player who felt she was compulsively playing the game and overspending, disabled the loot box feature for her account. Although the casino gaming industry has successfully implemented self-exclusion programs for years, this is new for the video gaming industry and may be formally incorporated into games and video gaming platforms.

For those involved in the regulation of casino gaming, the issues confronting the video gaming industry are nothing new. The gambling industry has deep experience balancing problem gambling and protection of children with industry growth and innovation. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Dickinson Wright | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Dickinson Wright
Contact
more
less

Dickinson Wright on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at privacy@jdsupra.com.

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com. We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit legal.hubspot.com/privacy-policy.
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit www.newrelic.com/privacy.
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit www.google.com/policies. To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit http://www.aboutcookies.org which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.