Committee Recommends UK Regulates Loot Boxes As Gambling
Mike Sanders / 10 months ago
The subject of loot boxes has been a very contentious subject for gamers and its certainly giving both politicians and lawmakers something to think about. The main crux of it, however, boils down to a simple question; Are loot boxes a form of gambling?…
It might sound a relatively simple question, but depending on your answer it could have very problematic consequences. For example, if they are classed as gambling (under law), then every game that features them would automatically have to fall under whatever age-rating that country has. So, in the UK for example, Overwatch or Fifa would automatically turn into an 18 overnight. In America this would get even more tricky as in many states while the physical gambling age restriction is 18, online it can be 21.
In a report via Eurogamer, however, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee has concluded its research into “immersive and addictive technologies” and has formally advised the UK Government that loot boxes should fall under the Gambling Act and, by proxy, are a form of betting!
Commission Advises UK Government That Loot Boxes Are Gambling!
So, what happens next? Well, while the commission has issued the advisory report, they are not lawmakers. As such, it’s up to the UK government next to decide whether, based on the advice, whether they should change the law to restrict loot boxes within video games. A move that, in fairness, countries such as Belgian have already made.
So, what could happen? Well, the enforcement could take form in one of three ways:
- The games have to automatically carry an age rating appropriate to the legal age of gambling
- The games will have to remove the purchasable loot box mechanics
- Game developers will have to attempt to find a ‘workaround’ wherein loot boxes are not purchasable. Such a means, for example, could be achieved via DLC
Anyway you look at it, however, it certainly puts EA’s “ethical surprise mechanics” into question.
What do you think? Do you think loot boxes are a form of gambling? – Let us know in the comments!