When the Belgium Gambling Commission announced they would be investigating such games like Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront 2 over their loot box systems, very few people expected the country to conclude that loot boxes are a form gambling and start an effort to ban them. But that is exactly what Belgium is doing.
According to a report from Belgian news outlet VTM News, the Belgium Gambling Commission has decided that loot boxes are a form of gambling and must be banned.
After a week-long investigation, the Minister of Justice has stated that in-game purchases like those in Star Wars Battlefront 2 and many other online games are, ”mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child.”
The investigation concluded that the addicting gaming and gambling is a bad mix but commissions also added that banning these features will take time. “But that takes time because we have to go to Europe,” they continued, “We will certainly try to ban it.”
Only weeks earlier the UK launched their own investigation but came to a different conclusion. Following a petition for the government to address the legality of in game loot boxes, the department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport responded by saying,
“The Gambling Commission has strong powers to regulate gambling and is monitoring convergence between gambling and video games closely. The government is committed to protecting children from harm.”
Loot Boxes in the UK
However, because loot boxes do not have any real-life value they were not considered gambling. The DCMS concluded that “prizes are restricted for use solely within the game, such in-game features would not be licensable gambling.”
It is interesting to see where this debate, especially if other countries follow in Belgium’s footsteps.
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