Less than a month after the UK government launched a call for evidence into loot boxes to decide whether they should be further regulated, a House of Lords Select Committee on gambling has called for loot boxes to be immediately re-classified as gambling, GamesIndustry.biz has reported.
The original inquiry into loot boxes led the government to establish an open call for evidence, with the results to be considered alongside the review of the UK’s Gambling Act 2005. Now the latter report is in, and it condemns loot boxes in no uncertain terms.
“The liberalization of gambling by the Gambling Act 2005, the universal adoption of smart phones, and the exploitation of soft-touch regulation by gambling operators has created a perfect storm of addictive 24/7 gambling,” the Lords report reads.
“The Government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation,” reads one of the new report’s key recommendations, with loot boxes defined as “all mechanisms by which a player pays money for a randomized item.”
The government has yet to respond to the new report, and may wait for the previously announced call for evidence to make a decision, but the UK could be the next country to join Belgium and The Netherlands to decide loot boxes are gambling, and therefore illegal.
Other countries have given loot boxes a pass, including New Zealand and France, which both ruled that loot boxes don’t constitute gambling. A proposed loot box bill in the US failed after facing harsh criticism from the industry, while an Australian committee has made recommendations including age-gating loot box transactions.