On 8 February 2021, Baroness Barran, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, answered a written question on loot boxes.
The question, asked by Lord Foster of Bath, inquired as to whether secondary or primary legislation would be required to bring loot boxes within scope of gambling regulation by defining their contents as money or money’s worth.
Her full response can be read below:
Gambling: Video Games
Department for Digital, Culture, Music and Sport
8 February 2021
Lord Foster of Bath: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 22 January, whether they will now answer the question put, namely, whether (1) secondary, or (2) primary, legislation would be required to bring loot boxes within scope of gambling regulation by defining their contents as money or money’s worth.
Baroness Barran: For the purposes of the Gambling Act 2005 gaming is defined in section 6(1) as playing a game of chance for a prize, which is defined in section 6(5) as being money or money’s worth. Section 6(6) of the Act allows the Secretary of State to make regulations clarifying what constitutes a game of chance for the purposes of the Act, but it does not include a provision for the Secretary of State to amend section 6(5). The government is reviewing the evidence received through our bespoke Call for Evidence on whether loot boxes present a risk of harm to consumers, and if so, the extent and nature of those harms. The evidence we received will help us both identify the issues at play and ensure that any policy changes effectively address them. As we are still considering the evidence submitted, it is too early to know whether any changes might be needed and therefore we cannot specify how we could implement any changes should they be required. The government will set out its next steps on loot boxes, including whether or not primary or secondary legislation is needed, in the coming months.