Australia Declares Loot Boxes as Gambling
As loot boxes continue to come under scrutiny from various legal bodies, a member of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) in Australia has stated that – at least in Victoria – loot boxes are considered a form of gambling.
With both Belgium and the Netherlands both making efforts to investigate gambling in gaming, Wolfe stated in an email that, “…the idea that (genuine) progression in a game could be reliant on the outcome of a random number generator is at odds with responsible gambling and the objectives of our acts.” He goes on to state that the purpose of designing these systems to target minors “…is not just morally reprehensible, but is also legally questionable.”
However, Wolfe explains that legislative restrictions are currently limiting the ability of the VCGLR to investigate the issue further. Since the companies using loot boxes in its games are located overseas, the VCGLR is “…not necessarily equipped to determine the legality of these practices.” Wolfe does make it clear that this is more of a short-term hurdle in the investigation, with the VCGLR currently working to “…modernize and inform both Federal and State based legislation” to better address the problem.
It remains to be seen what legislation of the issue will look like, as well as how well it will be enforced. Even still, Wolfe proposed working with the Australian Classification Board to automatically assign an “R” (age 18+) rating to any game that includes monetized loot boxes. Other countries may pursue similar forms of control over gambling mechanics.
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