Loot Boxes Targeted as a Concern by Gambling Regulators from 15 European Countries

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Sep 17, 2018
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Lawmakers around the world are not letting the loot box issue drop, much to the chagrin of big publishers. Randomized loot delivery systems have already been outlawed in Belgium and the Netherlands, and now gambling regulators from 15 European nations (and one U.S. state) have teamed up to “voice concerns” about loot boxes and other forms of gambling related to video games.

A statement drawn up at the 2018 Gambling Regulators European Forum, and signed by regulators from Austria, France, Czech Republic, Gibraltar, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Washington State takes aim at both third-party websites that let you bid on in-game items, and loot boxes, which the regulators insist must not “constitute gambling under national laws.”

wccflootboxes3Related IGDA Issues Call to Action to Fellow Developers: Self-Regulate Loot Boxes

UK Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur explained the need for the statement…

“We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children. We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.”

The statement goes on to encourage publishers to get in touch with authorities to “develop possible solutions” to gambling and loot box concerns. As much as publishers would love this all to just go away, it doesn’t seem like that’s happening. Some publishers like EA continuing to push loot boxes in defiance of new laws will probably only make regulators more determined. In related news, a new Australian study has found a link between loot box spending and “problem gambling,” so yeah, this fight may not go publishers’ way.

What do you think? Could the loot box’s days be numbered? Or will the almighty dollar win out in the end?

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