Loot Boxes Could Be Reclassified As A Gambling Product In The UK

Loot Boxes have come under a great deal of scrutiny lately, deemed as a potential gambling product available to young people. The department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are investigating the features which are present in some of the most popular games under 18’s are playing, including Fifa.

Loot Boxes

Loot Boxes allow players to purchase in-game rewards such as more powerful characters or extra armour or weapons to enhance their gameplay. The problem being, players have no idea what ‘Loot’ they will receive, almost like a game of chance.The revenue from these in-game purchases is huge, estimated at £23b per year. If the games are reclassified it will have a huge impact on game developers who would have to redesign the game or withdraw from players under the age of 18.At the moment, these in-game purchases are not covered by the latest gambling legislation set out by the UK Gambling Commission because they have no ‘monetary’ value.

Should Be Reclassified As A Gambling Product

Labour MP Carolyn Harris who chairs a cross-party committee group investigating gambling related problems believes Loot Boxes should be reclassified as gambling products, “ They are a virtually speculative commodity that only help to normalise and encourage young people to take a chance. All too often this will lead to youngsters developing an addiction to gambling.”Other European countries have already deemed Loot Boxes as gambling products including Belgium and games developers have had to remove their products from these markets.A research study at the University of York found Loot Boxes were prevalent in 71% of popular gaming titles, ten years ago this was a mere 4%. The fear with theses in-game purchases is children will continue to spend unlimited money to get items to enhance their game, like an gambling addict chasing losses.This week will see a ‘call for evidence’ by the DCMS on these increasingly popular in-game purchases before making a decision on the future legislation on such games.

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