A legal complaint has been filed against Apple that claims the company is “engaging in predatory practices” and promoting gambling by allowing loot boxes in games available on the Apple App Store.
If you’re not too sure what a loot box is, we’ve got you covered. Loot boxes are in-game items, usually purchasable with real world money, that players can purchase and redeem in order to receive a randomised reward.
Loot boxes are considered a tricky area in regards to whether they’re actually gambling or not. Back in mid-2019, the UK gambling watchdog ascertained that video game loot boxes can’t be classified as gambling as the prize inside “has no monetary value.”
As first reported on by AppleInsider, the complaint against Apple has been filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and claims that Apple “engages in predatory practices enticing consumers, including children to engage in gambling and similar addictive conduct.”
One of the named plaintiffs in the case, Rebecca Taylor, also claims that loot boxes violate Cal. B&P Code § 19801(c), which states that “gambling can become addictive and is not an activity to be promoted or legitimized as entertainment for children and families.”
The complaint also says that Rebecca’s child, known only as C.T. due to his status as a minor, has been “induced to spend his parents’ money and his own money to purchase “Loot Boxes”” while playing Brawl Stars and “other games on Apple devices.”
Rebecca reportedly estimates that C.T. has spent “at least $25” on in-game loot boxes, using a mixture of iTunes gift cards given to C.T. and his parents’ own credit card.
You can read the entire filing for yourself by following the link here.
In related news, both the ESRB and PEGI have also started introducing new ratings labels for games that include loot boxes to warn consumers about their inclusion. Interestingly, the Apple App Store has no official warnings for if a game contains loot boxes.