If you hate Mondays, just think of how the developers of games that have loot boxes must hate them — or at least this Monday, in particular. Stories about the investigation and potential legislation of loot boxes are breaking out all around the world, so let’s take you on a grand tour of today’s most tantalizing tidbits:
In Europe, 15 gambling regulators (along with one from the U.S.) have come together to “address the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling.” While CS:GO skin-betting appears to be at the heart of their concern, the committee also plans to “ensure that features within games, such as loot boxes, do not constitute gambling under national laws.” This committee is notable for its multi-national makeup, whereas previous anti-loot box measures have been taken up by separate countries. (Eurogamer)
That doesn’t mean individual nations aren’t still making their own judgments. The Australian Environment and Communications References Committee began investigating loot boxes in June and published its results today. Some of the strongest statements in the summary include: “loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling,” “there is a serious risk for loot boxes to cause gambling-related harm,” and “Loot boxes provide games companies with an unregulated way of exploiting gambling disorders amongst their customers.”
The committee recommends that games with loot boxes display parental advisories and also be restricted to players of a certain age. It also lays a bit of a smackdown on game developers who claim that loot boxes are harmless and Totally Not Gambling, stating that “they meet the ‘psychological criteria’ to be considered gambling themselves.” (Lexology)
Finally, there’s Finland, where the Finnish Lottery Authority has determined that “certain features of a video game containing loot boxing seem to meet the lottery definition.” Loot boxes are unlikely to be rendered illegal in the country, but lottery laws might be amended to account for their presence. It also references CS:GO boxes and their hefty value on the secondary market, or at least that’s the best we can make out using Google Translate. (Source)
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of
experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online
Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.