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The UK Gambling Commission have refuted the claim made by some media outlets that lootboxes are akin to gambling.
The lootbox scandal started with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II receiving very negative reactions from players, which lead to many governmental bodies raising concerns that lootboxes were akin to gambling.
US State representatives had proposed prohibiting the same of such games to anyone under 21, PEGI are planning to add a disclaimer on boxes of games that have in-game purchases, and some games operating in Belgium had pulled lootbox-esque systems from their game or stopped operating in the region.
The Young People and Gambling 2018 report was released earlier this week, stating one in three children (out of 3000 aged 13-16) had opened a lootbox while playing video games. Some media outlets then claimed this was exposure to gambling.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, a Gambling Commission spokeswoman refuted this connection.
“We’ve not in anyway, in the survey, referred to it as exposure to gambling. The reason we’ve asked that question is that it’s a very popular subject matter and we want to try and make sure that we have as much information and data around it as possible.”[…] “I think the confusion is… across Europe there are different views. We are more aligned to what the Netherlands’ stance is on it. Obviously Belgium has taken its own stance on it.”
At this time the Commission does not consider lootboxes a gateway into gambling, but they are concerned at lines becoming “increasingly blurred” between gambling and lootboxes.
The aforementioned report also states that while the number of child gamblers had quadrupled in two years, they felt this was not related in any way to lootboxes. 54% of the children surveyed knew they could buy lootboxes in games, while 31% had acquired and opened them (via a parent, guardian, or themselves).
They also found 15% of the children surveyed were aware of cosmetic skin betting websites, but only 3% had used them.