The UK is once again calling for video game loot boxes to be regulated under gambling laws. Loot boxes are randomised boxes of in-game items, usually of different rarities, which gamers exchange real money for. The random nature of loot boxes, and the chance to win big, has been a topic of debate for years now as people can’t decide whether or not they should be classed – and therefore regulated – as a form of gambling.
The UK’s House of Lords Gambling Committee is now looking to put its foot down on the topic, claiming that loot boxes need to be regulated under gambling laws.
As reported by the BBC, the Lords claim that the optional purchases should be classed as “games of chance,” which means they would need to be recognised under the Gambling Act 2005.
“If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling,” says a report from the Lords.
“The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation,” said an accompanying statement.
Whether or not the call to action will have any significant results remains to be seen, as this is a debate that’s been raging for a long time now.
Last year, MPs from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee called for a ban on the sale of loot boxes to children, as well as the regulation of their distribution under the Gambling Act [via Independent].
Committee chair Damian Collins said at the time: “Loot boxes are particularly lucrative for games companies but come at a high cost, particularly for problem gamblers, while exposing children to potential harm,
“Buying a loot box is playing a game of chance and it is high time the gambling laws caught up. We challenge the government to explain why loot boxes should be exempt from the Gambling Act.”
This came just months after the UK Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said loot boxes are difficult to regulate, and it’s something that’s going to need some serious consideration.
Do you consider loot boxes to be gambling?
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