Loot Boxes are Gambling
Many gamers will tell you that Loot Boxes are ruining games. The Gaming Industry will tell you they are a fun way to gain in-game items. Many parents scratch their heads and ask “What’s a Loot Box?” Many politicians have no clue as they don’t even have a computer in their office.
Love them or hate them, they have become a big topic for debate in late 2017. Now, it’s 2018 and the Gaming Industry is feeling the backlash from their greed. Many upset gamers and concerned parents have taken to their lawmakers for regulations. I’ve written articles in the past about the US State Representative of Hawaii, Chris Lee, leading the charge in America. His primary concern is how these greedy schemes can lead to gambling addiction in children. One man came forward how he became addicted to loot boxes as young as 13 years old. He worked a part-time job in High School to feed his addiction. His own parents canceled their internet service to try and stop him (didn’t work). At 19 years old, he attended therapy alongside those who suffer from gambling addiction.
Loot Boxes are NOT Gambling
The ESA (Entertainment Software Association), who created the ESRB Rating System, have denied Loot Boxes are Gambling. They have stated before that they are not gambling because the rewards hold no monetary value AND you are always guaranteed to win something. However, this is not the case anymore for some games. There are 3rd party sites that allow you to sell in-game items for real money. Some games, like PUBG, offer this through Steam on PC. At the time I’m writing this article, there is a listing for a “Gold Plate – AKM” for about $118. Considering I can buy a PUBG Crate and possibly make $118 to my Steam Wallet, I’d say that’s gambling.
Belgium Declares Loot Boxes are Illegal
Now, Belgium and Netherlands have been looking into this growing problem and have recently made a decision. Belgium has determined that Loot Boxes violate their gambling laws. Three games in particular are FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The Publishers have been informed they must remove them in these games or be fined up to €800,000 (about $974,000) or even face 5 years in prison. If children are involved, the punishment could be harsher.
Netherlands Declares Some Loot Boxes are Illegal
The Netherlands also recently took a stand against some Loot Boxes. They primarily went after those who’s rewards actually do hold a monetary value. The rewards can be traded and sold on 3rd party sites. They are considered gambling because of this. The Netherlands have given specific publishers until mid-June to remove Loot Boxes or face fines and/or be banned.
[Video Below is from SidAlpha, a Youtube Creator who reports often on Video Game News.]
What happens next?
The game companies may fight this decision, but will likely make the changes. Will we see Loot Boxes disappear from their game(s) world wide? Doubtful. They stand to lose a lot of money. So, they will likely remove them based on region. We can also expect other countries in Europe to make a decision if Loot Boxes are gambling. This is a decent blow against the greedy monetization practices in the Gaming Industry. However, I doubt those fighting against Loot Boxes will stop now.