Senator Josh Hawley has come up with a bill – Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act – that calls for banning loot boxes which he claims that is similar to gambling.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) had earlier criticized the bill when Senator Hawley announced its outline, contending that loot boxes are not gambling and had said that “several countries, including Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, determined that loot boxes do not constitute gambling.”
In a recent statement to the press, ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis has said:”This legislation is flawed and riddled with inaccuracies. It does not reflect how video games work nor how our industry strives to deliver innovative and compelling entertainment experiences to our audiences. The impact of this bill would be far-reaching and ultimately prove harmful to the player experience, not to mention the more than 220,000 Americans employed by the video game industry. We encourage the ’bill’s co-sponsors to work with us to raise awareness about the tools and information in place that keep the control of video game play and in-game spending in ’parents’ hands rather than in the ’government’s.””
Recently, a British Columbia University study also established a link between loot boxes and gambling. When it comes to monetization of video games and loot boxes which are often linked to gambling, the most vulnerable are the children.
As the debate about loot boxes have intensified, and many claim them to be ‘gambling in disguise’ several gambling regulators are studying the impact of loot boxes on children who are the most vulnerable.
In Sweden, the country’s consumer protection authority has already launched an official investigation into loot boxes the findings of which are expected to be submitted by October 1, 2019.