Wizards of the Coast has announced a new policy requiring Wizards Play Network stores and Magic: The Gathering Tournament Organizers to run background checks, where legal, on "staff or other individuals who interact with the public on your behalf."  It has also made explicit a requirement that WPN stores not employ staff or engage others whose names appear on a sex offender registry "and/or have been convicted... for a violent sexual offense or a crime against children."  Affected events include CFB Events’ Grand Prix, local store events such as Friday Night Magic, pro events including the Pro Tour and World Magic Cup, and convention play run by WotC.

The move was made in an announcement dated January 12 after an incident over the holidays in which a Magic judge was discovered to be listed on a sex offenders registry.  To make things worse, the situation had been reported to an email address maintained by Magic Judges, "an independent community-run organization that operates and manages the judge community and the Judge Conduct Committee," way back in July 2017.

The situation came to light when a report appeared on social media in December that Level 1 Magic judge Ross Prajzner had been convicted of a sex crime.  He was quickly removed as a judge and he had not been active in 2017, according to a post by Judge Conduct Committee Lead Johanna Virtanen.  The July report on Prajzner did not result in any action due to an "administrative error," she wrote.

Now Wizards of the Coast has taken action to make such situations less likely by requiring third parties running events to run background checks on employees or others involved.  While all concerned laud the goals of the new programs, some retailers have expressed concern over the cost of the checks, which they will have to bear.

WotC introduced the changes with a description of the ideal store.  "When gamers describe their ideal store, they often begin with words like 'warm' and 'welcoming,'" the announcement said.  "Most gamers want a sense of security, an easy peace, freedom from intimidation.  A community.  We are dedicated to pursuing that ideal, and we know WPN members are too.  Today, we've updated the Wizards Play Network Terms and Conditions to reflect our shared commitment to fostering safe and inclusive gaming environments."