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Victorian gambling commission: 'loot boxes constitute gambling'

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War on microtransactions and loot boxes has reached Australia. A Reddit user contacted the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation about their stance on the issue, and a Strategic Analyst for the Compliance Division at VCGLR responded.

Microtransactions and loot boxes are having the worst week ever. That is probably the wildest exaggeration anyone has ever made.

The snowball that started rolling when people voiced their dissatisfaction with the loot box system in Star Wars: Battlefront II has turned into an avalanche as Chris Lee of the Hawaii House of Representatives took to podium and (Reddit) to call people to action against 'gambling in video games'.

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This came after the Belgium Gaming Commission opened an investigation into the same issue. The investigation is still ongoing. 

All that snow melted as it reached Australia's Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation and out came the statement that loot boxes are in fact gambling according to its definition in Victorian legislation. 

A Reddit user named Caesar contacted the VCGLR asking them if the Victorian legislation considers the loot boxes a form of gambling. Jarrod Wolfe, the Strategic Analyst for the Compliance Division at VCGLR, responded:

"What occurs with "loot boxes" does constitute gambling by the definition of the Victorian Legislation. Unfortunately where the complexity arises is in jurisdiction and our powers to investigate. Legislation has not moved as quick as the technology; at both State and Federal level we are not necessarily equipped to determine the legality of these practices in lieu of the fact the entities responsible are overseas."

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Wolfe added that "the idea that (genuine) progression in a game could be reliant on the outcome of a random number generator is at odds with responsible gambling and the objectives of our acts. More importantly the normalisation of gambling vernacular and mechanics targeted at vulnerable persons (minors), is not just morally reprehensible, but is also legally questionable."

Mr Wolfe closed his second e-mail by saying "As far as affecting change from the consumer perspective. For me, instead of playing certain Star Wars games I was looking forward to, I will be concerting my efforts on collecting EVERY.SINGLE.MOON in Odyssey".

Read the full post here.