United States and European gambling regulators may crack down on loot boxes

CREDIT Blizzard Entertainment

CREDIT Blizzard Entertainment

A host of European gambling commissions, and one USA state, have teamed up to tackle the "blurring of lines" found in some video games.

The signature page on the document includes Directors, Chiefs, and otherwise leaders of gambling authorities from major countries such as France, Ireland, the UK, Spain, the US in the state of Washington specifically, and many more.

Loot boxes-In-game purchases that offer randomized rewards.

Certain countries, like Belgium and the Netherlands, have already taken measures including officially declaring loot boxes as gambling.

McArthur further noted that children could be "gambling with money intended for computer game products" using sites that allow users to bet real currency on in-game items.

The document urges gaming companies to reach out to gambling authorities to work on individual solutions, and hopes that the document itself acts as a catalyst to get those conversations moving.

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Government agencies from around the world are not letting off the pressure when it comes to loot boxes and other video game-related practises that they deem to be gambling. -In addition to the above, this would seemingly apply to games with poker or slot-machine-style minigames (or, uh, Casino Kid for the NES). But the signatories don't commit to any specific actions against such games for now, beyond "working together to thoroughly analyze the characteristics of video games and social gaming". The declaration also notes that there are different frameworks for gambling regulation in different countries.

But they said a year ago that they're keeping the issue under review and games companies have certainly not been endearing themselves to regulators, especially after EA flatly refused to implement the loot box ban demanded by Belgium law.

The declaration is notable for its global reach, encompassing European countries with a population of greater than 278 million people or about 54 percent of the entire European Union population.

'We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected'.

Neil McArthur, chief executive of the UK-based Gambling Commission, said the agencies in the worldwide coalition are calling on video game companies to address concerns about the risks that gambling and some games can have on children.

Although third-party gambling enabling sites are a concern, much of the responsibility is on games publishers themselves, as the news report states that they "must also ensure that features within games, such as loot boxes, do not constitute gambling under national laws".

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