Belgium may reclassify loot box games as gambling

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 17, 2017

Loot boxes are purchasable virtual in-game items containing bonuses.

Although there is no guarantee that that is the way the commission will rule, especially considering the stance of several worldwide game rating authorities like the ESRB and PEGI, the head of the Belgian commission did say that the reason these games are being investigated is because they allow users to buy something (loot box) which has a randomized, and therefore potentially gambling, outcome.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 is the talk of the gaming world, but the new release has also aroused the interest of gaming commissions across Europe. "Skin gambling" is an industry which has established itself around video games, where players it their own loot crate rewards against items or "skins" belonging to another player.

"Games of chance can not be compared to any other kind of economic services", the Gambling Commission stated.

At the heart of Deeley's petition was the concern that loot boxes are essentially a form of gambling.

It has been reported that the Dutch Gaming Authority has followed suit and is also investigating whether or not games with loot boxes should be considered gambling. "A number of protective measures have been implemented to protect players against these sorts of potential risks". Since credits or a "price" can be earned, a license would be required, but a licensing system isn't active yet for online gambling games. Belgium is one such country, where the Gaming Commission is now investigating loot chest mechanics in both Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront II, with the possibility that after the study is concluded, it will recategorise them as gambling and therefore subject to strict age limitations.

"A player's ability to succeed in the game is not dependent on purchasing crates".

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