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UK Gambling Commission Says Loot Boxes Are Not Gambling (Under UK Law)


More loot box investigations have been done by several countries after the outcry of the system, in particular the one that is in Star Wars Battlefront II, reached critical mass. After the Belgium Gaming Commission chimed in first declaring that the content is considered gambling, The UK Gambling Commission has a different conclusion.

That does not mean that the commission is supporting loot boxes, far from it in fact.

According to their recent statement on the issue, the commission are aware of loot boxes as early as last year, calling the them “a potential risk to children and young people”. They published a paper which discussed loot boxes as well as gambling that is happening relative to gaming such as gambling sites for in-game skins, gambling on esports matches and so on.

But the UK law has a clear line on what should constitutes gambling. And that line is whether the in-game items can be considered “money or money’s worth”.

“In practical terms this means that where in-game items obtained via loot¬†boxes are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out it is unlikely to be caught as a licensable gambling activity,” reads the statement. “In those cases our legal powers would not allow us to step in.”

The different outcome that the UK Gambling Commission has reached shows how blurry the line loot boxes are between gambling or not, and the Commission is worried of the lines getting even blurred with more cases like this. The statement ends with a warning to parents about the potential harm these elements can be to children:

“Whether gambling or not, we all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe.”

Source: UK Gambling Commission