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Gambling & Gaming - Dispute Resolution

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Gambling & Gaming - Dispute Resolution

  1. 1. Gambling and Gaming Power relations in dispute resolution Darryl Woodford, QUT dp.woodford@qut.edu.au / @dpwoodford
  2. 2. Background Undergrad in UK, Postgrad in Denmark -- Games focussed. Between the two worked in the offshore gambling industry. PhD at QUT looking at mechanisms for regulating online environments.
  3. 3. Today Less theory, more on the practical implications of power relationships Particularly focused on dispute resolution. How models developed in the offshore gambling industry could be applied to other online environments.
  4. 4. Gambling Post-up: Player deposits money to gamble. Can request balance once conditions met (rollover etc). Credit: Player enters contractual (in theory) agreement to pay after pre- determined period. Recourse varies.
  5. 5. Sources of conflict Companies ruleset differs from industry norms (Tennis sets, decided bets in abandonments) Players attempting to exploit mistakes (bonuses, bad lines, chip dumping). Rogue companies refusing to payout (rarely resolved).
  6. 6. Company recourse Credit agencies. Legal action (under certain regimes). Harassment / Threats (commonly seen in US ‘credit’ / ‘local’ bookmakers). Rules are codified, so disputes frequently handled as if contract.
  7. 7. Player recourse UK: IBAS (Independant Betting Arbitration Service), Gambling Commission. AU: State Regulators. Las Vegas: Nevada Gaming Comission. Online: ???? Even formal mechanisms aren’t perfect.
  8. 8. IBAS / Totesport
  9. 9. SportsAlive / BetEzy ACT Regulated - In theory. Submitted Financial Reports showing they were solvent as recently as March. Bankrupted in 2011. Account holders treated as “unsecured creditors”, minimal return predicted. Liquidator claims insolvent since 2008.
  10. 10. Power Power is perhaps most closely related to who is holding the $, but even then recourses are uneven. How might we re- address the balance?
  11. 11. Offshore Books based in countries such as: Antigua, Panama, Costa Rica. Targeting US Players, in violation of Wire Act, and now UIGEA. Face prosecution if return to US (Jay Cohen). Formal regulation ineffective. Player formed bodies stepped in...
  12. 12. Offshore Established a presence, arbitrated. Reputation-based regulation.
  13. 13. But also a lot of success
  14. 14. How does it work?
  15. 15. How does it work? Re-frames the power relationship. These player-operated websites, through the power of Google / reputation, give players the ability to share information. In some ways more effective / efficient than the formalised processes. 1-2 week outcome, published results, significant/ immediate bottom-line impact.
  16. 16. Failure here too... EnglishSportsBetting - Late 1990s, phone betting outfit just stopped paying BetPanam - Heavily promoted by forums, went all-in on Superbowl (+7.5 when market 7). Lost. BetCascade -- This one is still officially running, they just don’t pay anyone.
  17. 17. Gaming Virtual Worlds have much in common with offshore gambling. Multi-national. Hard to enforce judgments against operators/players spread worldwide. Lack of clarity around acceptable standards, behavioural norms.
  18. 18. Gaming Two primary sources of conflict: Player norms differ from developer norms (Eve Microtransactions) Players exploit regulatory framework (vs provider, or vs. other players) To consider either, we need to know the norms (a PhD research objective).
  19. 19. Uneven power Currently, companies hold all the cards. Terms normally enable them to close accounts: no appeal, no compensation Ultimately, can (& have) shut down servers at any time (Disney). Is that right when VW’s are “Third place” with significant social capital?
  20. 20. Recourse Players have tried through the courts (Bragg vs Linden). Untested. Companies often have costly arbitration clauses (declared unreasonable in Bragg) Argue players require another mechanism, perhaps in-environment.
  21. 21. Potential Solutions Players & Developers want to avoid top- down systems Hard to implement anyhow multi- nationally Would a self-governance mechanism such as the offshore solution work?

Editor's Notes

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  • Most success is behind scenes, part of the ‘power’ is the ability to avoid bad press, and even resolved disputes are often not positive for the company\n
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  • Jita protest, $70 monocole.\n\nSimilar to gambling -- disputes surround norms & rules, and player seeking to gain advance thereof. \n
  • 1) (Second Life Herald). \n2) Disney Magic Kingdom Online\n
  • 1) (Second Life Herald). \n2) Disney Magic Kingdom Online\n
  • 1) (Second Life Herald). \n2) Disney Magic Kingdom Online\n
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