UK Gambling Commission Addresses the Gambling Controversy Over Loot Boxes Within the Gaming Industry

UK Gambling Commission Releases an Official Statement Over the Loot Box Gambling Controversy

Over the past few weeks there has been nothing but controversy surrounding loot boxes and microtransactions, not just within Star Wars Battlefront II, but in the gaming industry worldwide. Though some believe that loot boxes are a form of gambling and need to be regulated as such, others believe it is just part of the game. With other countries weighing into the debate recently, now the UK has released their official statement on the matter.

e3 2017 Star Wars: Battlefront 2 feature

Recently, Belgium officials have called for a ban on loot boxes completely and Australia officials have stated that loot boxes are considered gambling by legal definition. So what does the UK Gambling Commission have to say about the matter? In a blog post, Executive Director Tim Miller explained that legally, loot boxes and microtransactions are not considered gambling. With that said, he does point out that the line between gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred.

You can find some of Miller’s statement about the controversy below:

“The law sets a line between what is and is not gambling. As the regulator we patrol that line and where an activity crosses it and presents a risk to people, especially children, we have and will take robust action. 

A key factor in deciding if that line has been crossed is whether in-game items acquired ‘via a game of chance’ can be considered money or money’s worth. In practical terms this means that where in-game items obtained via loot boxes are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out it is unlikely to be caught as a licensable gambling activity. In those cases our legal powers would not allow us to step in.

We are concerned with the growth in examples where the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred. Where it does meet the definition of gambling it is our job to ensure that children are protected and we have lots of rules in place, like age verification requirements, to do that.”  

If you’d like to read through his entire blog post, you can find it here. It will be interesting to see how these differing statements from countries across the world will impact the video gaming industry in the future. What do you think? Are loot boxes and microtransactions a form of gambling? Let us know in the comments below and keep it locked for updates!