LicensingAid Perspectives for November 2022

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ACMA would block websites that promote and direct traffic to illegal online casinos

The Australian Telecommunicator and Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the regulatory body for media, television and radio, advertising messages and advertising content on the Internet. It recently published a report on its actions for the past quarter and also outlined its strategy for the near future. 

In the past quarter, from June to September, authorities investigated the actions of so-called independent reviewers in the gambling industry. The purpose of the investigation was to stop advertising and providing illegal gambling services to Australians. Authorities audited more than 20 affiliate sites, most of which in fact violate the law against advertising illegal gambling under the IGA and facilitate the provision of illegal gambling.

The ACMA responded and gave more than many warnings to such services; other sites themselves have restricted access to illegal sites for Australians. Some have been blocked by ISPs at the request of the IGA and the rest continue to be monitored for further judgment. The effectiveness of such measures is as high as 90%, if not 100%. The regulator argues that the blocking of IP addresses has been successful in preventing traffic from Australia. 

This is good news for the gambling industry, unlicensed sites overshadow the entire industry and allow scammers to make money through illegal gambling schemes. We hope that regulators in Australia will continue to fight illegal gambling content providers and affiliates who drive traffic to such sites. 

Machine learning will help prevent underage gambling in the UK

Statistically, every fourth teenager in Great Britain has bet on sports at least once in his or her life using machines in bars, pubs, or just around the city. Curiously also, up to a third of these teenagers have not been stopped by workers who are required to check documents. 

UK authorities have decided to introduce identity verification before a player places a bet on a machine. Regal Gaming Technologies, a subsidiary of Gauselmann, is partnering with Yoti to launch the solution. Yoti’s technology is similar to Face ID; it checks a potential player’s photo of his face and compares it with a database of photos, and uses machine learning to determine his age. In less than 5 minutes, the program can determine a player’s age with an accuracy of 2 years, but the software can determine a player with almost 100 percent accuracy if he is less than 23 years old. Then it can block access to the machine if the player is under the age of adulthood and can’t prove otherwise. For example, the player can be verified in the application and use the QR code to prove his age at the slot machine. 

This is a really important technology, it can prevent youngsters from gambling addiction. However, this technology should be improved because there are a lot of people who look underage in adulthood, and this group of people would have problems with the verification process. Also, players should be guaranteed that the neural network is confidential and the company is not collecting private photos of users. However, company representatives argue that the photo is deleted immediately after verification of identity. 

The new technology will cover more than 15,000 slot machines around the United Kingdom in the near future. Then we will be able to find out how well it works in real life and what the problems will be. 

There have been changes in the British government: MP Paul Scully holds the position of parliamentary undersecretary of state for technology and the digital economy

Paul Scully became the 5th minister to hold the position. He succeeded Damian Collins as the so-called Minister of Gambling. Also before him, Chris Philp held this newly created position in 2021 but resigned in protest of Boris Johnson’s government in early 2022. 

“I’m excited to get stuck into my new role as Minister for Tech at DCMS,” the new gambling minister tweeted.

In this position, Paul Scully will continue the Gambling Act review, which was supposed to be released in spring 2022 but has been postponed until now due to a reshuffle in the government. 

We hope that Paul Scully will stay on as Minister of Gambling longer than his predecessors and eventually end the review of the Gambling Act.

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