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Loot Boxes not Recognised as Gambling by the UK Gambling Commission

July 25, 2019
Gambling in UK

Loot boxes in video games continue to be a topic as many parents are coming forth with issues regarding this in-game purchased items. Many parents regard them as gambling since real money is used to buy the items. However, the UK Gambling Commission has said that the loot boxes cannot be declared as a form of gambling under the current gambling laws.

The reason why the UK cannot declare the loot boxes as gambling is that they cannot currently there is no way to monetize the items inside. For the UK government to say that they form part of gambling is if the items were to have monetary value or be money. This would make them fall under the gambling legislature and because of this reason, they cannot be regulated under these laws.

FIFA Loot Boxes as an Example

This not only applies to FIFA but other games such as Overwatch, CSGO, League of Legends, and many more. They have paid chance-based mechanism with rewards that are known beforehand. In the FIFA video games, you can buy pack items for their content even without knowing what is inside. The prize is only revealed once the purchase has been made. This works in the same way as the loot boxes which will have bonus content, weapons and character costumes.

According to Brad Enright, Gambling Commission Programme Director stated that the EA constantly battle with the unauthorized secondary market. EA is a FIFA video games management team.

In an article written by BBC, there have been parents who have reported to them that their children have spent hundreds of pounds in-game item purchases. The parents are also criticising the items as a form of gambling.

US Government on Loot Boxes

In May, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley presented legislation the US Senate requesting that the government ban the loot boxes and pay-to-win mechanism in video game directed at children. However, CEO of Entertainment Software Association, Stanley Pierre-Louis said that the legislature was flawed and inaccurate because it does not reflect the process of video games.

The bill that was presented prohibits distribution and publication of video games that have loot boxes and the pay-to-win mechanism. It is directed at minor-oriented games or games targets at under 18s. The bill is currently discussed by the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

To find out more about the difference between gaming and gambling red out gaming vs gambling guide.