The Gambling Committee for the UK’s House of Lords has concluded in a report on loot boxes that they should be classified as “games of chance”, which would mean that they’re eligible for the same level of regulation as gambling products under the Gambling Act of 2005.
The news was originally covered by the BBC, with the report from the House of Lords stating that “If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling”. A statement accompanying the report adds: “The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation.”
The Lords are urging the Government to take urgent action against loot boxes, adding that: “There is academic research which proves that there is a connection, though not necessarily a causal link, between loot box spending and problem gambling.” The UK Government have said that they’ll be reviewing the Gambling Act in future, and will possibly consider loot boxes as part of that regulation.
This isn’t the first time that the potential of loot boxes being regulated in the UK has been discussed, though the fact that a report has been published by the House of Lords is possibly the most prominent turning point yet. Last month, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport called for evidence on whether or not loot boxes should be considered gambling.
The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, or Ukie, launched their Get Smart About P.L.A.Y campaign back in January, with the intent of increasing family control options so that parents and care-givers can easily manage, limit or disable the ability for kids to spend money in games, which includes mechanics like loot boxes.
Ukie’s CEO, Dr Jo Twist OBE, said the following in a statement the House of Lords report: “The majority of people in the UK play video games in one form or another, so we take these concerns seriously. We’ve worked hard to increase the use of family controls on consoles which can turn off or limit spending and we will be working closely with the DCMS during its review of the Gambling Act later this year.”
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