Are Loot Boxes Gambling?

Whether you’re a casual player or a hardcore video game enthousiast, you’ve probably already encountered loot boxes. It could be Hextech Chests in League of Legends, Fifa’s Loot Crates and any other publisher invented name to cover up the fact that these are actually Loot Boxes.

Since this is a gambling and esports betting related website, we thought it would be interesting to share our thoughts and research about the subject and the debates around potential gambling addiction in underage users.

What’s A Loot Box?

This is a question a lot of readers may ask themselves if they’ve never played a modern online video game. As mentioned above, there can be many name variations for these virtual items. 

First implemented in the famous Japanese MMORPG MapleStory under the name of “Gachapon ticket”. And in the western region with Team Fortress’s Loot Crates in 2010. They are purchased either with real-world money only or, sometimes, with in-game currency as well. The idea behind this virtual item is that the buyer has no idea what he will receive once he opens this loot box.

Example: You spend $10 for a box (or it’s equivalent in in-game currency). When you open it you have a really small chance to get a very rare legendary item. Or a bigger chance to get a common item. As simple as it sounds, this simple concept is essentially one of the main components behind the huge growth in the video games industry. It generates billions in revenue for companies such as EA games, Riot Games, etc. These virtual items have had a very negative feedback from the gaming community on many occasions, ex: Battlefront II.

Are Loot Boxes Legal?: Loot Box Legislation And Regulations

Loot boxes legislations and regulations fully depend on the country from which point of view you are looking at the subject.

In fact, most countries have no official regulations regarding in-game virtual items. Surprisingly, there’s even countries with a strong viewpoint against online gambling but have little to no regulations regarding Loot Boxes.

As of the 2018 Gambling Regulators European Forum, 16 different European countries have decided to investigate the potential dangers of the industry. But, as of today, only one of them, Poland, released an official report stating that they do not consider virtual mystery boxes gambling. The only country (as of may 2020) that has officially banned loot boxes since 2018 is Belgium.

Should They Be Banned?

Since most countries have yet to decide to regulate the industry, it is a fair question to ask ourselves. But, our opinion is the same as for gambling: we do not need to ban loot boxes. Is it really fair to penalize the large majority that is able to enjoy loot boxes in moderation for the small minority that is abusing their financial situation or mental health with them?

How To Follow Updates On The Subject?

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