Citing lack of sufficient and credible evidence, Margot James, UK’s Digital Minister said that “Loot Boxes” are not gambling.
Loot Boxes are a unique feature offered in games and Apps where players can unlock surprise rewards upon making a payment or performing a task which involves some monetary investment or incentive.
The debate around loot boxes has been gaining grounds recently as there have been studies which have linked Loot Boxes to gambling. Earlier this year, a study from the British Columbia University, found that loot boxes are connected to gambling.
In the US, Senator Josh Hawley has already introduced a bill which calls for banning loot boxes and such a reward mechanism. Senator Hawley says that the children are the most vulnerable, and therefore, it is imperative to resort to strictest measures.
There is not enough evidence available to suggest that loot boxes in video games constitute gambling, the Digital Minister has said.
The Digital Minister was speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Committee looking into addictive technologies when she opined that there is a need for more research and conclusive evidence which confirm that loot boxes are gambling.
“I would contest the assumption that loot boxes are gambling and I don’t think that all the evidence that I’ve read from your committee’s hearings would support that assumption either,” the minister said.
“Loot boxes are a means of people purchasing items, skins as they’re called, to enhance their gaming experience, not through an expectation of an additional financial reward and importantly they can’t be traded offline for money, so I think there are big differences and I don’t think really it is true to say that loot boxes are gambling.”