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UK government to issue a call for evidence on loot boxes being gambling

Published: 13:18, 08 June 2020
A wooden crate against a blue background with AltChar logo watermark
AltChar: Loot Box

Even though we've seen many companies abandon the loot box monetisation approach, quite a few of them on their own accord, their prevalence has become concerning enough to warrant a call for evidence.

According to The Guardian, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is planning to launch a call for evidence for what has to be the most frequent question when loot boxes are mentioned - are they or are they not gambling?

Loot boxes had quite the hold over the gaming industry at one point, and the lack of any government regulation made it a particularly fertile market for some companies. 

Microtransactions have become so prevalent in games that gamers are perfectly used to gambling terms like "whale", i.e. high-spender, as if they ever had any place in gaming to begin with. Nevertheless, they are here, so it's time to start asking the uncomfortable questions.

With a number of reports suggesting that loot boxes encourage gambling behaviour in children and increase the likelihood of developing addictions later on in life, the UK government will start looking for proof. 

If they're deemed to be gambling, this would officially classify games with loot boxes as gambling, and therefore subject to all the related laws. Consequently, gaming companies would be required to comply with a far stricter set of regulations in order to launch such products, and even then it would have to be adult-only. 

AltChar Photoshop of a No Loot Boxes Allowed sign in Holland The Netherlands

It's been a while since the whole loot box debate started and even though Belgium and Netherlands wasted no time in protecting their youth from predatory monetisation practices, the rest of the world seems content to err on the side of profit. 

You can find the Guardian's piece here .

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