Australia is making all the news today. In March, we learned that a committee laid out “options for restricting access to loot boxes in video games, including though the use of age verification,” and now a member of that country’s parliament is planning to introduce a bill next month that will ban the sales of loot boxes to minors in that country.
Via the paywalled Daily Telegraph, Kotaku Australia reports that Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie will introduce a bill in August that would implement several new measures aimed at combatting the sales of games with loot boxes to people under the age of 18.
Wilkie appears unequivocal in his belief that loot boxes are de facto gambling, an equivalence that many game developers, and the ESA, have long disagreed with. “We as a country accept that people over the age of 18 can gamble but let’s make that for adults and giving parents a warning,” he said. “To allow very young children to pay cash for a randomised event that may or may not reward them that [sic] would meet any definition of gambling.”
Australia already requires that games that include microstransactions must be labeled as such. Wilkie said that games with loot boxes should be given a R18+ rating, while also being tagged with an additional advisory label.