Video game loot boxes under scrutiny by 16 gambling regulators

UK and 15 other countries join forces to tackle loot boxes

A team of gambling regulators from fifteen European nations and one U.S. state have signed on to "work together to address the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling" according to the UK's Gambling Commission.

Gambling regulators from 16 agencies signed an agreement Monday in an effort to tackle the "blurring of lines between gaming and gambling".

The document states that these bodies are "increasingly concerned" with gambling-like features showing up in games, including practices like skin betting, loot boxes, and gambling themed content, which might mean mobile games that resemble things like slot machines but don't directly ask for money.

However, some third-party sites let players buy and sell items such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins and Ultimate Team players in Federation Internationale de Football Association 18.

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.

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As far as the United Kingdom agency is concerned, loot boxes aren't considered a form of gambling as long as you can't exchange the virtual goods you receive for real money. Which again illustrates why they're so down on third party websites that do allow that.

Sixteen worldwide gambling regulators are teaming up to address gambling and loot boxes in video games with a new declaration, according to the UK Gambling Commission.

The participating countries in this new global effort include Austria, Czech Republic, France, Gibraltar, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Latvia, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the US's Washington State Gambling Commission.

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 U.S. in the state of Washington specifically, and many more. 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".

'This common action will enable an informed dialogue with the video games and social gaming industries to ensure the appropriate and efficient implementation of our national laws and regulations. We will also work closely with our consumer protection enforcement authorities'.


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