Wizards of the Coast recently announced an update to their terms and conditions requiring tournament organizers and retailers to conduct background checks on all staff, volunteers, and judges who interact with players in WotC sanctioned tournaments. While on the surface it might sound like the company is taking this step to, as they say, make “magic spaces safer”, this announcement has caused significant concern and debate amongst retailers.
Wizards of the Coast already has what we believe to be, good policies in place to ensure safe environments for players. It is our understanding that this recent requirement came about due to pressure caused by a disgruntled individual, who has previously been known for harassing behavior, rather than from a genuine need for more stringent regulation. While we would normally applaud attempts to ensure safe environments, in this case we have grave concerns about how this requirement came about. From what we have heard, other retailers have similar concerns. There have also been quite a few questions in the retail community about the logistics of implementing the new requirements, and such details have not been addresses by WotC.
Our position is that policies should not be dictated by internet trolls.
Since this announcement was made we have spent considerable time consulting amongst ourselves, as well as receiving input from judges. As frustrating as these new requirements are, we also must consider that they are coming after a long string of other decisions by WotC that have been frustrating to both retailers and players. This is reflected in the fact that attendance for Magic the Gathering tournaments in our store is currently at an all-time low.
After careful consideration we have decided we will not be complying with these requirements. We have decided to end our relationship with Wizards of the Coast and stop hosting Magic tournaments. Our last sanctioned event will be an FNM booster draft on February 2 at the end of this week.
We understand that this will come as a surprise to Magic players who have enjoyed the MTG community at JBC up until now. We would like to acknowledge the impact we know this will have on you and apologize for having to deliver this unpleasant news.