The Government has responded to a written question raising concerns about loot boxes. The question asked whether the Government planned to investigate the impact of loot boxes on underage gambling and gambling related harm.
In response to the question, Government Minister, Viscount Younger of Leckie, said that ‘loot boxes do not fall under gambling law where the in-game items acquired are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out’.
The full written question and answer can be found below:
Video Games: Gambling
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17 December 2018
Lord Chadlington: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans, if any, they have to conduct an investigation into the impact loot boxes in video games have on (1) underage gambling, and (2) instances of gambling related harm.
Viscount Younger of Leckie: Where gambling facilities are offered, operators must have a licence from the Gambling Commission and have controls in place to prevent underage gambling.
Loot boxes do not fall under gambling law where the in-game items acquired are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out. However, the Government is aware of concerns that loot boxes and other entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour and longer term lead to gambling related harm, and will continue to look closely at any evidence around this issue. We welcome the recent introduction by the VSC Ratings Board and PEGI of a new label for video games to warn parents where they include the opportunity to make in-game purchases.
In September 2018, the Gambling Commission, along with 16 other regulators from Europe and the USA signed a declaration which outlined common concerns around gaming and gambling. The regulators agreed to work together to monitor the characteristics of video games and social gaming and where there is potential cross-over into gambling.