Gambling regulators sign agreement to work on loot box issues

The discussion around loot boxes continues, and this time we have 15 gambling regulators from Europe – and the Washington State Gambling Commission – signing up to work together in tackling issues around both in-game loot boxes and out-of-game skins betting.

The UK’s Gambling Commission released a statement with signatories from its equivalents in the likes of France, Spain, Poland, Ireland and more. Said statement pointed out the group’s collective concern with the ‘blurring of lines’ with regards to what is considered gambling and what is considered gaming – especially in consideration of children.

The agreement will see the various commissions working alongside the games industry to try and get a better understanding of the lay of the land. The ultimate aim is to enforce local laws and regulations on any in-game – or external game-related – content that requires it, with an informed view on matters.

“We anticipate that it will be in the interest of these companies whose platforms or games are prompting concern, to engage with [gambling] regulatory authorities to develop possible solutions,” the statement reads.

Focus is naturally on in-game elements like loot boxes, which have come under fire increasingly in the past year, with some calling them gambling. But there will also be attention paid to things like skin betting sites, where players are being encouraged outside of games – and outside of publisher/developer control – to bet using in-game items/currency.

Dr Richard Wilson (OBE), CEO of TIGA, said: “TIGA is committed to working closely with the Gambling Commission so everyone can enjoy video games in a safe environment. TIGA has met with the Gambling Commission to discuss loot boxes and has published a guide to help inform developers about their responsibilities.

“We will continue to support the Gambling Commission’s efforts to crack down on unlicensed third party websites that allow gamers to exchange in game items for cash.”

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