The UK’s House of Lords calls for loot boxes to face gambling regulations

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The UK’s House of Lords has called for loot boxes to be labelled as a form of gambling.

As reported by the BBC, more specifically, the committee believes they should be categorised as “games of chance.” Moreover, the Lords do not want the government to wait; rather, they would like parliament to act with immediate effect. Last month, the UK government asked for evidence to prove loot crates are a form of gambling.

“The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation,” said the House of Lords.

Time for action

Furthermore, the head of the House, Lord Grade, has supported the action by other countries such as Belgium as “they can see the dangers.” In 2018, the Belgian government declared loot boxes as a form of gambling, thus making them illegal in that country.

On top of this, Grade insisted that many recommendations made by the committee “could be enacted today.” He also pointed out that the UK’s gambling act is “way behind what was actually happening in the market.”

“There is academic research which proves that there is a connection, though not necessarily a causal link, between loot box spending and problem gambling,” reads the House of Lords report.

Industry reaction

Commenting on the announcement, Ukie CEO Dr Jo Twist said, “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.”

In September 2019, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee first recommended that the UK parliament find a way to regulate loot boxes as gambling, due to the addictive behaviours they can inspire in children.

Following an ESA pledge last year, Fortnite creator Epic Games made a promise to be transparent about what would be found in a loot box going forward. After the American firm made its commitment to transparency, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo claimed they would force developers to reveal loot crate odds for games from this year onwards.

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