Archives 2021

International Olympic Committee speaks out in favor of Esports

Last Friday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) unanimously adopted the “Olympic Agenda 2020 + 5” as a new roadmap to 2025. At the 137th Plenary Session, the IOC made the recommendation to promote e-sports.

IOC President Thomas Bach presented the “Olympic Agenda 2020 + 5” [page in English] and said the Corona crisis had fundamentally changed the world. It will never be the same. This has far-reaching social, financial, economic and political consequences.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is an independent, non-profit organization responsible for organizing and overseeing the Olympic Games. The IOC was founded on June 23, 1894, two years before the dawn of the modern era of the Olympic Games in Athens.

Affiliated to the IOC at the level of the individual countries are the national Olympic committees. In Germany, this is the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB).

In light of this, the ICO had launched an extensive discussion to develop a vision for the future. In the process, he said, five broad trends have emerged that the IOC, along with many other social opinion leaders, sees as critical.

These five trends are solidarity, digitalization, sustainability, credibility, and economic and financial resilience. Based on this, he said, 15 recommendations were developed for the “Olympic Agenda 2020 + 5” together with all stakeholders in the Olympic Movement. One of the leading portals esportbetting.net regrets the decision.

Promotion of e-sports recommended by Olympic Movement

One of the recommendations includes promoting the development of virtual sports and further involvement in video game communities. Item nine of the agenda states thus:

Taking into account youth affinity for video games and digital entertainment, creating unique Olympic products and experiences through virtual sports will increase engagement with people. This is in line with the IOC’s digital strategy. The goal of this direct engagement is to promote sports participation and Olympic values with a particular focus on youth.

The agenda mentions virtual sports such as soccer, but also competitive games such as League of Legends. National sports federations are to be encouraged to develop their sports in the area of e-sports as well.

So far, e-sports players have had limited access to available resources compared to traditional athletes. The IOC is aware of this and aims to provide support to e-sports athletes in areas such as gender equality and physical and mental health.

What this might look like is not stated in the agenda. It therefore remains to be seen whether the DOSB will change its stance on e-sports in light of the IOC’s clear statement. As recently as 2018, the DOSB had stated that e-sports “do not fit under the umbrella of the DOSB.” Stronger promotion and development as well as recognition of e-sports in Germany is now likely to depend on how the DOSB reacts to the new agenda.

UK

Delayed opening of gambling halls: Paul Gauselmann writes to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

German gambling mogul Paul Gauselmann has written a personal letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In the letter, Gauselmann is said to have expressed disappointment and regret that licensed gaming halls in the UK would not be allowed to open alongside betting shops on April 12.

This is not conducive to the principles of fair competition for which the UK traditionally stands, Gauselmann explained. He therefore asked the British prime minister to reconsider the decision, as gaming halls do not pose a risk of infection.

Gambling industry is discriminated

In its letter, Gauselmann stresses that its company is one of the largest operators of gambling venues in the UK. The company has invested around GBP 450 million to date and employs more than 2,000 people, he said.

But now Gauselmann is wondering whether it is worth continuing to invest in new sites as planned because the gaming venues are being treated disrespectfully. This, he said, had affected the Gauselmann Group’s confidence in its UK investments.

Paul Gauselmann has been running his gambling business for over 60 years. However, it is said to be the first time that the gambling magnate has personally approached a head of government to discuss political decisions.

He said the company was ready to cooperate with the government and contribute to the country’s economic recovery. The Gauselmann Group had been audited by the Global Gambling Guidance Group [page in English] for compliance with international standards. This provides a strong basis for investment plans in the UK.

Now, however, in light of the political decision, there were doubts about whether future investments would pay off. Gauselmann says it is aware that the government will have to make difficult decisions. However, the aim is to prevent low-risk companies from being excluded from the reopening.

Austrian Flag

Austria: Communist Party in favor of banning small-scale gambling

The Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) in the province of Styria is said to be in favor of a ban on small-scale gambling. The party wants to reverse a law that re-regulated slot machine gambling in Styria in 2016, according to a Kronen Zeitung report published Friday.

The reason, it said, was the great dangers for players. At slot machines, players in Styria are allowed to wager 10 euros per game. A game round lasts one second. There is no maximum daily playing time. The KPÖ therefore considers a ban on small-scale gambling to be the only way forward. KPÖ Klubobfrau Claudia Klimt-Weithaler had stated that “vending machines have a particularly negative effect on gambling addicts”.

Gambling addiction in connection with small gambling is a current topic in Styria. Only on Thursday, the Fachstelle für Glücksspielsucht Steiermark had presented its new self-help group “Gemeinsam spielfrei”. The goal of the online self-help group is to “get a grip on gambling problems through mutual exchange and assistance.”

The Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) in the province of Styria is said to be campaigning for a ban on small-scale gambling. The party wants to reverse a law that re-regulated slot machine gambling in Styria in 2016, according to a casinovergleich.eu report published Friday.

The reason, it said, was the great dangers for players. At slot machines, players in Styria are allowed to wager 10 euros per game. A game round lasts one second. There is no maximum daily playing time. The KPÖ therefore considers a ban on small-scale gambling to be the only way forward. KPÖ Klubobfrau Claudia Klimt-Weithaler had stated, “Automats have a particularly negative effect on gambling addicts.”

Gambling addiction in connection with small gambling is a current topic in Styria. Only on Thursday, the Fachstelle für Glücksspielsucht Steiermark had presented its new self-help group “Gemeinsam spielfrei”. The goal of the online self-help group is to “get a grip on gambling problems through mutual exchange and assistance.”

Player protection has long been an issue

The KPÖ’s positioning comes at a time when Austrian politicians are already working on a new gambling package that is to include stricter player protection measures. However, the party’s critical stance toward the gambling industry is not fundamentally new.

In a position paper of the KPÖ Styria from September 6, 2019, the party explicitly took a position on the topic of gambling. It states there:

“As the only party, the KPÖ stands for a ban on small-scale gambling in its current form. In the interest of a powerful gambling industry, thousands are driven to ruin, and politics looks on.”

On November 16, 2019, the party then published a detailed article, which primarily criticized the alleged entanglements between Austrian politics and the gambling sector.

In particular, the links between Austrian federal politics and Novomatic AG were criticized. According to the KPÖ, however, major Styrian parties also maintained “close ties to the gambling industry.” Among others, the former ÖVP member of parliament Wolfgang Kasic was named, who in 2011 as chairman of the subcommittee for gambling in the provincial parliament was said to have accepted funds for Novomatic advertisements and later resigned.

Klimt-Weithaler had already stated at the time that the gambling industry should no longer be allowed to dictate state policy.