Gambling and gaming: 'Loot boxes should be banned'

Joanna Estrada
September 12, 2019

Committee chairman Damian Collins said: 'Buying a loot box is playing a game of chance and it is high time the gambling laws caught up'.

Players are spending up to £1,000 a year on video game "loot boxes" as MPs have called for them to be banned for children. Video game publishers who make use of them vehemently deny that it is gambling.

What did the report find? The DCMS also says that some game industry representatives have "demonstrated a lack of honesty and transparency" in related hearings - and they weren't fans of the one in which EA coined the term "surprise mechanics", either.

Previously, the UK Gambling Commission ruled that loot boxes can not be regulated as gambling because there's no mechanism to turn in-game items received into real-world money.

What is the Gambling Act?

The Gambling Act was introduced back in 2005. It is a law which aims to ensure that gambling in the United Kingdom is done in a fair, open and legal way.

The committee also recommended the gambling content warning label be applied to games, with a corresponding age limit.

As things now stand, loot boxes aren't covered by this law - something which the DCMS feels is wrong.

To tackle issues surrounding paid-for loot boxes, the report also suggests that loot boxes should be earned through in-game credits, which would prevent players handing over real cash.

The report concludes that "loot boxes that can be bought with real-world money and do not reveal their contents in advance to be games of chance played for money's worth".

What else has the DCMS called for?

The inquiry wasn't just investigating the connection between loot boxes and gambling, however.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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