The Gambling Commission of the British House of Lords has come to the conclusion that lootboxes in games are to be regarded as gambling. Accordingly, the gambling laws must be applied.
In a detailed report, the Commission of the House of Lords set out its views in detail.
Lootboxes in games are a controversial issue. Critics have been arguing for years in favour of greater control, mainly because of the widespread use of lootboxes in a wide variety of games and genres. In most cases, real money has to be spent to buy keys that can then open lootboxes. It is not only the random factor that is criticised, but also the close connection of lootboxes to online betting has often been the focus of investigations.
Commission proposes increased regulation
In the report now presented by the Commission, it is advised to classify loot boxes as a game of chance. “If a product looks like a game of chance, feels like a game of chance, it should also be regulated as a game of chance.”
The report also cites numerous research findings that link problems of gambling addiction to lootboxes.
Great Britain would not be the first country to take action against lootboxes. In 2018 Belgium banned lootboxing on the explicit grounds that lootboxing and gambling addiction are linked.
According to the Commission’s assessment, voices have come forward that consider a mere “18+” classification of games with lootboxes to be insufficient. After all, minors already have access to many games from the age of 18.
In order to combat this problem, the Commission has proposed to examine the games concerned more closely and to examine their popularity among young people.
Esport was also identified as a potential problem, as it brings young people into contact with gambling and betting. The Commission’s assessment will most likely lead to increased regulation in the UK market.