Lawmakers wrestle with the blurring of the boundary between video gaming and gambling. PokerStars releases the full PCA schedule. The crypto-poker war heats up. And more.

Gaming and Gambling

Electronic games have become such a huge component of mainstream culture in the 21st century, it’s no surprise that the gambling world would look to them for inspiration for new products. Meanwhile, the paradigm shift from games-as-product to games-as-service has created a need for companies to focus on customer-retention, and there are few industries as savvy – and devious – in that regard as the gambling industry. As a result, we have the first wave of skill-based video gambling games hitting the market just as video game companies are catching flak for going too far with their addictive, gambling-like “loot boxes.”

PC Gamer reports that the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) felt obliged, due to complaints, to investigate whether these loot boxes could be considered a form of gambling. It ultimately concluded that they could not, because the items earned from the loot boxes have no cash value. But although it decided it would be overstepping its own responsibilities in attempting to regulate video gaming microtransactions, it cautioned that this does not imply that loot boxes and similar mechanics do not pose a risk for children. It recommended that some sort of controls be put in place and said that, although it has no legal power to step in, it would be happy to consult on the issue with any other authority with the power to do so.

A similar debate is beginning to unfold in the US. David Huber took a look at that situation here at PartTimePoker.

Quick Hitters

The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is back in its full glory, with a $10,150 unlimited re-entry Main Event and 30 side events on the full schedule, which was released on Friday.

– The crypto-poker wars are heating up with CoinPoker having sold out its pre-ICO and Virtue Poker looking to follow suit in early December. I took a look at the concept and how likely it is to succeed.

– Ed Miller wrote an interesting piece for CardPlayer about “counterparty bias,” and the dangers of believing you’re the sharp on a given bet when you’re in fact taking the worst of it.