The Loot Box Controversy In Casino Games
In 2018, online games look like they never have before, Everyday there are new innovations that transform games into increasingly interactive experiences. Though there has been a call for the UK Gambling Commission to address one of these new innovations, in the form of loot boxes, the commission has not done so. Those that represent the commission have stated that it is not the organizations’ job to regulate loot boxes. According to the commission, a game does not fall under their jurisdiction unless it actually pays out real money to winning players.
Since a loot box is simply an item that can be acquired throughout the course of a game, the commission does not feel obligated to address it. It is being said that legally speaking, the commission has no right to regulate loot boxes that appear in games. The controversy lies in the fact that some games do allow players to cash out their loot box winnings. However, they must always be cashed out using a third party site. In early 2017 the commission was able to convict a UK resident responsible for running an illegal gaming site in which children were lured into playing a game that real money can be bet on.
Parents are up in arms over the inclusion of loot boxes in games their kids are attracted to. Many have expressed a concern that video games are beginning to seem more and more like the games of chance one would find in an online casino. Some are saying that loot boxes may not be classified as gambling tools but that they do appeal to children when parents would prefer that they did not. Parents are calling for steps to be taken to protect their children from the lure of games that include loot boxes.
At the end of 2017 the Gambling Commission made an official statement that insisted they do not have the ability to regulate a minor’s access to games that include loot boxes that they can’t cash out. In most cases, loot boxes have no monetary value outside of a game.
As of now, the line is blurred between something like Poker chips, that are definitely considered gambling tools, and loot boxes that aren’t, but should be in the minds of some people. Though the UK has been on the fence about this issue, other countries have already begun to call loot boxes a gambling tool equal to Poker chips. As a result, there is a possibility that the UK may take a page out of other country’s books and begin to regulate loot boxes.
Online sportsbooks are dealing with this controversy, as many e-sports games now include loot boxes. If the Gambling Commission does begin to regulate loot boxes it could end up hurting the e-sports industry. Only time will tell how this issue is resolved and whether or not it continues to be a controversy. The future of loot boxes is very much up in the air.