The ongoing controversy tied to the so-called loot boxes has sparked a heated debate over whether they should be classified as gambling. Country officials and gambling experts still scratch their head wondering if loot boxes constitute a form of gambling or not. The boundaries between the two concepts may be hard to distinguish, but they actually exist.
At the heart of the loot box question is whether these systems can unlock gambling addictions. Needless to say, the provision of gambling offerings in a socially responsible way is the number one priority in all countries with regulated gambling industry.
This morning, the Swedish nation woke up to the news that the government will, most probably, classify loot boxes as gambling. In a segment on Swedish Radio P3 News, Swedish Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarab hinted that the gambling authority is still investigating whether loot box systems constitute gambling, but the answer to that question will be most probably “yes”. The official explained that the government is trying to take the reins over the gambling industry and protect people from blowing away their money on gambling activities.
The radio report also discussed an important problem centered around the young people, whose gambling hobby have started to spiral out of control. It was explained that the young people do not realize that the purchase of in-game items is also a form of gambling. In that way, loot boxes sneakily breed gambling addiction among many young people, including children and adolescents.
Other Countries Condemning Loot Boxes as Gambling
Since the release of Star Wars Battlefront II, the debate over loot boxes has become furious. In fact, loot boxes help the player to progress through the game. Many people argue that loot boxes should not be classified as gambling as the outcome of the game is dependent on the players’ skills, but not on purchasing crates. Gambling authorities from all over the world have started to investigate the controversial loot boxes in video games.
According to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), loot boxes constitute a form of gambling. But Australia is not the only country that took such stance on the matter. Last year, the Belgium Gaming Commission announced that loot boxes should be considered as gambling. In that sense, the in-game purchases should be regulated. Mere days ago, it surfaced that Germany also considers banning loot boxes.
Gambling and gaming are two concepts, which are very similar, but also very different. As a matter of fact, the two share many common features, but it is a mistake to say that they are the same. By definition, gambling games require the presence of three essential elements, including consideration, chance, and prize.