Gambling and gaming: 'Loot boxes should be banned'

Remigio Civitarese
Сентября 12, 2019

Video game companies should be banned from selling so-called loot boxes to children over fears they can turn them into gambling addicts, MPs said last night.

Today, the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has published a lengthy report on issues in the tech industry.

What did the report find?

Committee has overnight published the findings of its recent investigation into immersive and addictive technologies, and chief among the 84-page reports findings are that it believes the United Kingdom government should be regulated under gambling law. That said, they come at a high cost for problem gamblers, as well as exposing children to potential harm.

In its conclusions, the DCMS says that the government should bring forward regulations for loot boxes under section 6 of the Gambling Act during the next parliamentary session to confirm that "loot boxes are a game of chance". That places loot boxes under the umbrella of the gambling act, and would require these mechanics to be regulated as gambling.

The Gambling Act was introduced back in 2005.

In addition, the report also reccomends that the government advise the Pan European Game Information organisation - or PEGI - to apply the already-existing "gambling" content labelling and the corresponding age limits to games that feature loot boxes that can be bought with real world money that don't show their contents before purchase. During the hearings, Electronic Arts, which makes Federation Internationale de Football Association, denied the feature constituted gambling, describing it instead as a "surprise mechanic".

As things now stand, loot boxes aren't covered by this law - something which the DCMS feels is wrong.

Loot boxes contain mystery in-game items, tempting players with the chance any of them could contain something of huge value.

What else has the DCMS called for?

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