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Events


IAGA SUMMIT Macau 2018


Does age verification in the social gaming sector need to be more robust?


Firstly, social casino games simply do not appeal to a young audience - 0.01 per cent of total players are spending under 18's. Implementing some kind of KYC obligation on social games would be hugely disproportionate.


We have commissioned two groundbreaking player data based research projects so far which make this clear, with a third due for publication in the coming months:


● In 2014, the ISGA commissioned a study of its members’ games covering in excess of 12


million social casino data points across Europe, the US and Australia: 0.74 per cent (90,665) of players were under 18 and only 0.56 per cent (505) of this group paid to play.


● ISGA findings were corroborated by regulator led research. Data directly obtained by the UK


Gambling Commission (extrinsic to the ISGA commissioned study) from two leading operators found that “on an average day, the number of UK players under the age of 18 for two of the leading gambling style games combined, was less than 1,000. Te number of under 18s paying to play, on an average day, was comfortably in single figures (three).”


● In 2016, the ISGA commissioned a follow up demographics research project: video games


To further inform consumers the ISGA has also sponsored www.SmartSocialGamers.org, a consumer-facing portal designed to provide guidance on controlling in-app purchases and responsible gameplay.


As well as giving guidance about what social games are, who plays them and why, we address concerns or questions that gamers may have about social games - including areas such as excessive play, bullying and abuse, effective digital parenting and overspending. Te site is authored by leading experts in the online safety field, academics and clinical psychologists.


What themes are acceptable or unacceptable in social as opposed to play-for-real - and who is the judge?


We cannot be the arbiters here - different cultures, jurisdictions and political perspectives all come into play - but what we can say with specific reference to social casino games is that:


1. None of our members’ social casino games offer higher percentage payouts to give inflated expectations or encourage real money gambling participation.


2. Our best practice principles for social games operators and developers clearly state that


social games should not lead players into believing they will be more successful at real world activities, be they action, casino style or any other genre.


3. Te 2012-13 controversy surrounding overspend in app purchases (note: this emanated from the big box MMO sector and not social casino or casual games) has highlighted the importance of not incorporating director exhortations to children to purchase and that games should not be advertised as ‘free’ where purchases are mandatory or unavoidable. Tis guidance applies to the entire freemium games sector and official guidelines have been released by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (formerly the Office of Fair Trading) and the European Commission.


4. Te mere fact of a gambling style aesthetic should not mean that games suddenly leap from being freemium games to gambling. “Social casino” or “casino-style” games take inspiration from well-known real-money casino games minus the gambling. It is wrong to try and affect a separation of social casino from the rest of the casual games sector (Candy Crush et al) which are also based on chance and freemium monetisation.


specialist, Dr Rachel Kowert, and Dr Sally Quinn, Associate Lecturer in Psychology at the University of York, analysed over 4.8 million data points from a selection of ISGA members' social casino games: 99.41 per cent of social casino players were 18 or older and as few as 0.01 per cent were found to be under 18’s that paid to play.


We feel a proportionate method of minimising youth play is to ensure companies do not pursue them and we do this though our best practice which states that


● “casino style social games should specify that the games are intended for use by those 18 or


older and/or provide advice to parents and teens on making smart choices online.” “Games that are targeted at or designed for children should not contain direct exhortations to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them.”


● “Advertisements for casino style games should not be deliberately or explicitly


directed at those aged below 18 years.”


We should also remember that these days the major platforms now provide a host of parental controls to limit in app purchases expenditure and control the types of content that is available to children. Tis is something that is often forgotten in regulatory discussions.


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE /MARKET DATA P95


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