Are Loot boxes gambling or not?

With loot boxes being called for immediate gambling regulation by the House of Lords I feel that now is the time for me to say what I think about the subject.

I think that loot boxes are gambling by definition because you aren’t paying directly for an item you directly want you are paying for an item that provides you with a chance to unlock the item your after with a chance to that you could get an item you don’t want with the odds predetermined by the game. Loot boxes themselves I would compare to fruit machines because they use the same psychological mechanisms that are found on fruit machines as they both rely on the chemical reactions in our brains to various factors such as the lighting provided when using both items, the feeling of success winning the jackpot/impulse of trying again believing that you can earn the jackpot on the next turn. have odds that are preset (some loot boxes odds are as low as 0.01%) so theoretically you could win the ‘jackpot’ or you could also win nothing with the odds being significantly towards to the latter.

As expected loot boxes have also been utilised as a marketing tool by game companies via youtubers with some videos getting millions of views as seen above, this being done by it has been noted that they have rigged loot boxes at times in favour so that they have the top items on their videos to show their millions of followers to that you can actually get the top items from them so viewers to such videos will actually go out buy them in bulk in the hope of getting whatever item it is they want.

But the complication lies in the legality of such content on whether it can be implemented on other items not dissimilar to loot boxes such as trading card packs that provide an item of varying values. But it does have a knock on effect on all games since if it is legally classed as gambling it would mean that any game that uses any real world currency to gamble regardless as to what it is would have to be restricted in various countries thus limiting profits for game companies for implementing such mechanic on any game. If this aforementioned method is to be used it would mean that even games explicitly aimed at small children that utilize such mechanic would (on paper) no longer be playable by its target audience.

Overall I do think that loot boxes should be banned as it is an unnecessary game mechanic that takes advantage of players and shouldn’t be implemented in any game that you have to pay real cash for. I also think it is sad that most games use them in their games as too many games (including major sports/esports games like Fifa and CS:GO.)use this as a feature in their games, when previously released games didn’t need to do this.

 

Sources

https://www.tai.org.au/sites/default/files/P860%20Risks%20to%20kids%20from%20video%20games%20%5BWeb%5D.pdf

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-53253195

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-52281573

https://medium.com/behavior-design/hooked-on-loot-boxes-how-design-gets-us-addicted-79c45faebc05

 

Image Source

https://pixabay.com/vectors/treasure-chest-box-treasure-chest-575386/

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