Gamers love investing money into their accounts for in-game rewards and items. However, a recent study shows that around 40% of children expressed links to “problem gambling,” calling them to be regulated as betting products.
A correlation was clearly demonstrated between the user of loot boxes and problem gambling behavior under PGSI (Problem Gambling Severity Index) measures.
However, the UK will not ban loot boxes despite reports from government consultation discovering evidence of a “consistent” association between the features and “problem gambling.”
Good News for Gamers
The feature is prevalent in nearly every game. Some notable names include PUBG, Call of Duty, and FIFA football series, banned in Belgium in 2018; however, Nadine Dorries, UK’s culture minister, states that the UK will not follow them.
Instead, she states that the government will discuss strict “industry-led” protection measures after a 22-month consultation with the UK’s £7bn gaming sector, which was heavily criticized.
Dorries claims that drafting legislation to impose prohibitions on loot boxes as a part of the anticipated renovation of the national gambling laws might have “unintended consequences.”
The government, while replying to the consultation, said, “For example, legislation to introduce an outright ban on children purchasing loot boxes could have the unintended effect of more children using adult accounts, and thus having more limited parental oversight of their play and spending,”
It also said that although there was “a stable and consistent” association between problem gambling and loot boxes, as the study identified among 15 peers, it did not find a causal link”.
Another compelling factor is that the loot box rewards cannot be legitimately exchanged for real money, which means that players can’t, in theory, “cash out” as they may during gambling.
The Gambling Commission, however, has previously cautioned that the third-party sites let users trade the rewards for real money.
Serious consideration of the issue
Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) wants strict legislation to govern the sector; Dorries said, “Children and young people should not be able to purchase loot boxes without parental approval.”
“All players should have access to spending controls and transparent information to support their gaming.”
The DCMS said, “We expect games companies and platforms to improve protections for children, young people, and adults, and for tangible results to begin to be seen in the near future,” They also added If that does not happen, we will not hesitate to consider legislative options if we deem it necessary to protect children, young people, and adults.”