Commission says its recent survey didn’t refer to loot boxes as exposure to gambling.
In a recent report, the UK Gambling Commission noted that out of ten children, three had opened loot boxes in video games. The report itself is titled “Young People and Gambling 2018” and it apparently claimed that about one million young people had been exposed to gambling via loot boxes. However, a spokeswoman for the Commission stated that the report didn’t make this claim.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the spokeswoman stated, “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.”
Though the number of children indulging in gambling has quadrupled over the last two years as per the report, there was no explicit relation made to loot boxes. “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.”
The report itself did note that children were engaged in gambling via informal environments without any kind of regulation.”Instead we found children preferred to gamble in informal environments, out of sight of regulation – private bets between friends or playing cards with their mates for money,” it stated.
The problem of loot boxes and their affect on gameplay is still important, especially in light of the controversy over Star Wars Battlefront 2. Many developers, like Sumo Digital for Crackdown 3 and BioWare for Anthem, have even used the “no loot box” tag as a selling point. As more titles veer down the direct cosmetic purchase path, it remains to be seen how long RNG loot boxes can survive.