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U.S.A. Says Loot Boxes Are Not Gambling, Australia Says They Are

The debate continues

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a U.S. association representing companies that publish computer and video games has stated that loot boxes are not gambling. That’s not surprising, they represent the industry so wouldn’t want to deny publishers lots of lovely money. Here is their statement courtesy of Glixel.

Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences. They are not gambling. Depending on the game design, some loot boxes are earned and others can be purchased. In some games, they have elements that help a player progress through the video game. In others, they are optional features and are not required to progress or succeed in the game. In both cases, the gamer makes the decision

It’s a rather flawed statement, I have a choice to use slot machine or not, so does that mean it’s not gambling either?

Meanwhile over in Australia the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has decided that loot boxes are gambling. A Reddit user emailed them to ask their opinion and this was the reply.

Skins, skins betting and virtual currencies are certainly a peripheral consideration. However, 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. More importantly the normalisation of gambling vernacular and mechanics targeted at vulnerable persons (minors), is not just morally reprehensible, but is also legally questionable.

The Commission is an advisory body so cannot pass any laws but can advise on new legislation. If you haven’t been keeping up, here’s the voting so far: Hawaii, Belgium and Australia all think loot boxes may be gambling, the rest of Europe and America say they are not. They way things are going Simon Cowell will soon have this on ITV on Saturday nights and we’ll have to vote on which region gets knocked out each week.

Source: Glixel / Reddit

  1. ron_mcphatty
    Since: Sep 2008

    Fascinating statement from ESA, they’ve managed to say nothing of any substance but bookends their conclusion with a lot of obvious fluff. It contrasts beautifully with the intelligent and morally agreeable quote from the Aussie VCGLR. It strikes me that a lot of American’s like to make statements by shouting something, saying I’m right, then shouting again.

    On the topic of Battlefront, has anyone come across the Acid Launcher? How has that name been allowed to happen?? I know there’s a lot of shooting and racism (against aliens) in Star Wars but shooting acid at people is a bit too GTA for me. Keep the laser killings and Wookiee genocide light please.

    Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 12:44.
    • Avenger
      Since: Oct 2012

      It’s just gas though iirc. Maybe the name is inappropriate, but I guess it depends on how politically correct people want to be about it. It is a bit awkward I suppose.

      As Finn said though, the masks only filter out smoke, not toxins, so seems to fit in the SW universe more or less.

      Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 13:27.
  2. JR.
    Since: Apr 2013

    In cases such as these, I think it’s safe to assume that the people who have little (if anything) to gain are ‘right’ and the people who are making massive amounts of money are ‘wrong’. Whatever the outcome, the ‘chancers’ will always find new ways to increase profits. I’m waiting for the day when they start charging by the hour/hours played.

    Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 12:53.
  3. Lieutenant Fatman
    Since: Jul 2013

    They may as well say, “We found a loop hole to get children into gambling, deal with it.”

    Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 14:49.
  4. badger
    Since: Apr 2012

    Embarrassing. Apparently EA is a member of ESA? It’s a bit like Rose West saying Fred did nothing wrong to their kids, it was their fault for being there.

    Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 19:25.
  5. Anton668
    Since: Sep 2008

    some may consider the Title to be a lil misleading as the ESA has no government involvement. That and the US gov IS starting to the notice(well, ok, its only one state at the moment. but ya gotta start somewhere!)

    Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 20:07.
    • Anton668
      Since: Sep 2008

      dam, if only i read to the very end. my bad :)

      Comment posted on 23/11/2017 at 20:10.