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British Gambling Commission worried about 'potential risk' of loot boxes

British Gambling Commission worried about 'potential risk' of loot boxes

November 27, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

November 27, 2017 | By Chris Kerr
More: Business/Marketing

The British Gambling Commission has expressed concern over the prevalence and impact of loot boxes in games. 

In an official statement, the Commission's executive director Tim Miller said that loot boxes are a "potential risk" to children and young people. 

He suggested the biggest concern right now is the growth in examples "where the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred."

Miller added that, in those instances where the line is crossed, it's the Commission's job to ensure those at risk are protected from harm. 

However, the Commission can only intervene in cases that can be clearly identified as gambling, as defined by the British government. 

"The definition of what is legally classed as gambling is set by Parliament rather than by us. Our role is to apply that definition to activities that we see and any changes to that definition need to be made by Parliament," explained Miller. 

"A key factor in deciding if that line has been crossed is whether in-game items acquired ‘via a game of chance’ can be considered money or money’s worth. 

"In practical terms this means that where in-game items obtained via loot boxes are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out it is unlikely to be caught as a licensable gambling activity. In those cases our legal powers would not allow us to step in."

The British Gambling Commission isn't the first to weigh in on the loot box debate, which was sparked by the recent Battlefront II controversy

Last week, Belgian officials said they'd like to see loot boxes banned, while Hawaiian representative Chris Lee denounced the monetization model as 'predatory.'

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