The Singapore "Anti-Lockbox Law" Won't Actually Affect Lockboxes

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor October 8, 2014
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We've got an update on that Remote Gambling Bill in Singapore we discussed last week. In brief, it passed, but it won't affect video games -- for now.

Games in Asia is reporting that "the bill will not affect video games as long as players cannot convert in-game credits or tokens for money or real merchandise outside the game." That jives pretty well with one of the "loopholes" we posited that allows such practices to circumvent gambling laws: that the money only flows from player to developer and never in reverse. In other words, you can buy something that you might convert into cash, but you'll get that cash from a third party, like another player, and not the game's maker. That's different from, say, buying a lottery ticket or gambling at a casino. If you win, the lottery commission or casino itself pays you.

However, Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs spoke some dark words, saying "What may be benign today may appear more sinister tomorrow." Somebody oil up that slippery slope...

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In this article: Singapore, gashapon, Loot Boxes.

About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
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.

Discussion (5)

Bic Boi 7 years ago
So in other words, as long as you can't convert in-game currency into real money, the bill does nothing. Seriously? Then what good is the damned thing? Most all F2P publishers expressly forbid the trade of in-game currency for cash shop currency already! It's in the TOS for god's sake..

This bill is essentially redundant. They're stopping what was already stopped in the TOS of these publisher's games to begin with. If I'm misunderstanding it, then someone please enlighten me.

PLEASE.

anip 7 years ago
lockboxes, gachapon, gamble boxes, luck boxes, mystery chests, etc etc...

should all be banned from being sold in video/pc/mobile games.

in fact, I believe Japan did this a few years back (now if I can find that law)

Merkadis 7 years ago
What the hell? i was stupid to allow myself, for a moment, to think that government monkeys had achieved some sense i their heads at last. As long as the item is not bound i can go ahead and sell it to anyone who wishes to pay me for it be it in-game currency or the very very real hard cash... the company that sold me that lockbox or whatever won't ever know that a transaction took place in their game.
There are entire player auctions out there, everywhere.. and they seriously think we can't convert virtual crap into hard cash? hahaha, go tell that to gold farmers morons, they will have a good laugh too.

CByl 7 years ago
I hope this eventually passes on to video games in some form; even though there isn't actually any monetary transactions after a lockbox is purchased and opened, it still is a form of gambling.

Jonathan 7 years ago
Oh god. That seems crazy. I never did understand why Singapore passed that law anyway. Anyone want to enlighten me?


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