UK Gambling Commission Doesn’t Know How to Handle Loot Boxes in Video Games

By   /   Dec 14, 2017
Video GAMES Loot boxes

“We don’t yet understand enough of what the actual risks are,” said the gambling commission of UK.

The executive director of the UK Gambling Commission, Tim Miller, had an interesting outlook on the issue when questioned by Eurogamer about the risks of extortion and gambling within the gaming community in the UK, to children. It is no surprise that there are many platforms where either the developers or the community looks to profit using different means including loot boxes.

Loot boxes have been around for a while but only recently EA and its Star Wars Battlefront 2 took it a step too far, causing severe backlash from the community.

Tim Miller established one clear fact that the current laws for the protection of the users in such situations are not clearly set out. He said that the parliament is the lawmaker while the commission is the one to implement the law within the scope of what the parliament has enacted. It suffices to say that the current laws are not made to keep gambling in video games in-check.

However, now that the U.S lawmakers, as well as other countries, are looking into it. We can say that the debate could actually turn into solid Govt regulations to protect its consumers.

The question then arises that what protection is available for children against these activities right now? Tim responded that the current treatment is similar to what they would normally do to handle a gambling rink or in an illegal casino which in effect limits the scope of the commission against small-scale risks.

The current situation of the commission is that they not only lack adequate information as the risks and the extent of damage that these risks can cost. It’s a matter of fact many games exist that are purely pay to win where it is impossible to progress without investing substantial amount of funds and children have done so at their parent’s expense. Tim Miller clearly suggested there is much that can be done as they lack the information and are looking to conduct more research

We [the Gambling Commission] will continue to patrol that boundary. Products change and develop all the time and while, at the moment, we have not seen an example of loot boxes which cross that line, that’s not to say there won’t be a developer in the future that uses loot boxes in a way that does end up crossing that line and if they do, and that presents a risk to young people, then they can find themselves on the end of action by us. We will carry on monitoring that position and ensuring that these products do not cross that line.

The statement which clearly suggests that Tim’s hands are tied by the lack of information and the scope of authority that the parliament has given to the commission.

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