UK Gambling Commission Reveals Stance on Loot Boxes

UK Gambling Commission Reveals Stance on Loot Boxes

"The law sets a line between what is and is not gambling".

This all likely relates to the numerous discussions that have arisen due to the increased presence of loot boxes within the gaming industry (in particular, EA's Star Wars: Battlefront II, Activision's Destiny 2 and Warner Bros.' Middle-earth: Shadow of War), and whether or not such practices need tighter regulations. "The definition of what is legally classed as gambling is set by Parliament rather than by us", Miller wrote.

According to UK Gambling Commission Executive Director Tim Miller, loot boxes in games like Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Overwatch aren't gambling because the items obtained in these loot boxes can't be considered money or money's worth. With other countries weighing into the debate recently, now the United Kingdom has released their official statement on the matter. However, if such items cannot be cashed out and can only be used within the game, then it is more hard for their obtaining to be considered a form of gambling.

Some critics of Star Wars Battlefront 2's loot box system may be disappointed at the conclusion reached by the UK Gambling Commission.

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That being said, the commission has been acting against third-party websites that offer real money gambling services centered on in-game content.

Mr. Miller went on to explain that the line between what is gambling and what is not could be very thin and one key factor needs to be taken into consideration before a decision on if the line has been crossed is made. In those cases our legal powers would not allow us to step in. "Where a product does not meet that test to be classed as gambling but could potentially cause harm to children, parents will undoubtedly expect proper protections to be put in place by those that create, sell and regulate those products", the statement continues. In others, they are optional features and are not required to progress or succeed in the game.

But while games that enable items to be cashed in would likely be classified as gambling and thus subject to regulation, "where prizes are successfully restricted for use exclusively within the game, such in-game features would not be licensable gambling, notwithstanding the elements of expenditure and chance".

An expert from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation's Compliance Division said in a reply to a reddit user that loot boxes represented a form of gambling under the Australian state's current gambling laws and that the items posed serious risks to minors and other vulnerable people as these normalized gambling.