Industry Reports

Canada Takes Measures to Protect Children from Gambling-Related Issues

Canada is in the top ten of the world’s biggest gamblers. According to various statistics, more than 75% of the Canadian adults have been involved in at least one form of gambling. Lottery and scratch and win tickets are among the most favorite games in the country. In April this year, the country registered a loss of approximately C$568 per adult.

Quite expectedly, these figures raised the eyebrows of the country’s officials, who alarmed people about an increasing threat of gambling-related problems. As a result, the country decided to invest in the creation of a responsible gambling-focused framework.

At first glance, video games are a completely harmless hobby. But in recent times, these video games have become very similar to gambling. Many adults even do not realize that their kids are directly exposed to the hidden disease called gambling addiction, while playing their favorite video game.

On 17th November, Electronic Arts released the long-awaited Star Wars Battlefront II action shooter video game. The latest addition to the Star Wars: Battlefront series was accepted with a great deal of controversy, as it included the so-called loot crates (special boxes in video games with randomized virtual items worth in the game). Players should either play a lot or pay a certain amount of money if they want to open such boxes.

Ontario Includes Child Protection Strategies to Fight Gambling-Related Harm

However, a “loot box” is a complex concept, which involves many nuances. Many countries had a hard time to determine if the presence of a loot box in a video game is a form of gambling or not, while others are still examining the issue. Proponents of Star Wars Battlefront II explained that the outcome of the game depends on the players’ skills, but not on the purchase of these loot boxes.

In that sense, the game cannot be tagged as gambling. On the other hand, the presence of loot boxes in games for children is condemned as inappropriate by many. It was argued that these games prey on the children’s susceptibility.

Even though loot boxes are unregulated, these systems are a popular feature of many video games. Hence, each country has the right to decide if loot boxes are a form of gambling under its own criteria. As for now, Belgium, Hawaii and Australia are taking steps to ban loot boxes in video games for children. The world is getting smaller for the video games, which feature loot boxes. Canada will most likely join the growing list of countries seeking to ban the practice. According to the local media outlet Ottawa Sun, kids in Ontario are to study responsible gambling as part of Ontario’s new curriculum. It is yet to become clear if the kids in Ontario will have a new subject in school.