The UK has offered up its stance on loot boxes in gaming, weighing in on whether or not they’re an unregulated form of gambling.
Countries across the world, including Belgium, are making their opinions clear when it comes to purchasable randomised game content, and it seems more and more are looking to censor or even remove loot boxes from games published in their regions.
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Unlike Belgium, the UK has decided that loot boxes can’t be considered as gambling [via BBC]. The UK gambling watchdog has declared to MPs that as there’s no way to monetise what’s found inside loot boxes, they don’t fall under gambling legislation.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McCarthur recently spoke about the “significant concerns” held around young adults and children who play games which feature chance elements, or the opportunity to part with real-life money.
With the way the UK’s current legislation works, it does not classify as gambling.
“There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not – [such as] some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry they are not gambling… but they are a lot like a lottery,” McCarthur said.
In the US, Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley has confirmed the proposal of a bill which would ban the “manipulative” design features in video games. The bill would affect underage players and would include the sale of loot boxes.
If the bill gets approved, the sale of loot boxes in games targeted at children under the age of 18 would be banned. The Federal Trade Commission could also penalise companies that would allow minors to purchase loot boxes.
Senator Hawley said: “Social media and video games prey on user addiction, siphoning our kids’ attention from the real world and extracting profits from fostering compulsive habits,
“No matter this business model’s advantages to the tech industry, one thing is clear: there is no excuse for exploiting children through such practices.”
The bill was proposed earlier this year.
Featured Image Credit: Epic Games