DCMS Committee Recommends Loot Boxes be Regulated by UK Government

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins heads up the Digital Culture Media and Sport Committee

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins heads up the Digital Culture Media and Sport Committee

Previously, the UK Gambling Commission ruled that loot boxes can not be regulated as gambling because there's no mechanism to turn in-game items received into real-world money.

Video game companies should be banned from selling so-called loot boxes to children over fears they can turn them into gambling addicts, MPs said last night. Though the findings of the report are not legally binding, industry memebers have said they will be taking the findings very seriously, with UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist saying in a statement to Eurogamer: "The video games industry has always, and will continue to, put the welfare of players at the heart of what we do".

Loot boxes were found to make up a huge proportion of money made by big gaming organisations, but their purchase can come at a high cost to players.

What is the Gambling Act?

In its conclusions, the DCMS says that the government should bring forward regulations for loot boxes under section 6 of the Gambling Act during the next parliamentary session to confirm that "loot boxes are a game of chance". It is a law which aims to ensure that gambling in the United Kingdom is done in a fair, open and legal way. But because it's not officially sanctioned by Electronic Arts, it's also not considered gambling.

Beyond that, the DCMS says that loot boxes should not be sold to children, and that PEGI ratings for games with loot boxes should label the content as 'gambling'.

The inquiry wasn't just investigating the connection between loot boxes and gambling, however.

To tackle issues surrounding paid-for loot boxes, the report also suggests that loot boxes should be earned through in-game credits, which would prevent players handing over real cash.

The group argues that games containing loot boxes should carry warnings for parents, which clearly show that they feature gambling content.

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