Under current legislation in the UK, loot boxes in videogames aren’t currently classified as gambling. You can now sign a petition in the hopes of changing that.
If you’re not too sure what a loot box is or why you should care, 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.
Given that players are usually not told what exactly is inside the loot box prior to opening and may receive items that they consider not to be equal to the amount they paid, many people see it as a form of gambling.
In mid-2019, the UK gambling watchdog informed MPs that as there’s no “official way” of monetising what’s inside loot boxes, they can’t be classified as gambling. In order for something to be classified under gambling legislation in the UK, a prize must either be money or have some sort of monetary value.
This new petition, created by Daniel Taylor and hosted on the official UK Government and Parliament website for petitions, calls for the Gambling Act to change its rules and cover loot boxes.
“Video game companies avoid predatory Loot Boxes being defined as gambling on the technicality items received can’t be redeemed for money despite clearly being gambling otherwise,” the petition’s description reads. “Update the Gambling Act to include purchases providing randomized digital items even if they do not have monetary value.”
At the time of publishing, the petition has 40,049 signatures. All petitions filed through the official UK G&P website require at least 10,000 signatures for the government to respond to them and at 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
The deadline to sign the petition is the 5th of September, 2020. You can sign it yourself by following the link here.
Thank you to Howard for bringing this petition to our attention! If you have any tips for MSPU, you can submit them here.