In recent times, there has been a turbulent move by the UK elected leaders and the political side to try and avert the ongoing gambling crisis in the country. They have apparently hit out at all possible ends in a bid to try to address the ‘public health issue’ that has become a burden for the natives.
Following this, the mandated watchdog body (UK Gambling Commission) found itself inside the grills when trying to explain to MPs about the purchase of in-game content and the larger affiliation to gambling. The commission came out to distance itself from overseeing the purchase of in-game content like FIFA player packs and video game loot boxes. According to them, this is not part of the targeted forms of gambling in the UK.
Additionally, in a move that tries to address the matter, the commission indicated lack of an official way to monetize what is inside the packs and boxes. This, therefore, points out that a prize has to either have monetary value or be in money form for it to fall under gambling legislation.
Amid this, there was yet another concern on the unauthorized third party sites buying and selling in-game content or extensively allowing its use as a virtual currency. The commission program director Mr. Brad Enright quoted EA, which is dominantly into selling of football team management Fifa as having faced a constant battle from them for what he believes was due to operating against unauthorized secondary markets in Britain.
Brad indicated that there as undoubtedly a clear demand for a secondary market in an effort to bar extortion from those selling in-game contents. In practical Fifa observation, you can buy players in packs but you can only get their content revelation after payments.
The same case goes to the loot boxes, which (with bonus content) which are mainly in the form of weapons or characters.
Testimonials from Concerned Ends
Quite a number of parents have come out guns blazing claiming their young ones normally spend heavily on in-game purchases and likened this to a form of gambling. They say, there is probably an element of likelihood chance after purchase that tempts their children to buy until getting the desired results.
The Media and Sport select committee together with the Commission’s chief executive, Mr. Neil MaCarthur all admitted the concerns while speaking at the Culture Department. They said they were aware of significant concerns of children playing video games, which are elements of expenditure and chance.
Alive to this, Neil confirmed once again that under current legislation the in games do not qualify to be part of gambling. Progressively speaking on behalf of the Gambling Commission, he said that there are other things that may look and feel like gambling but according to legislation, they are not just because of free play or free entry. Hence, they are more of a lottery than gambling.
Elsewhere, Belgium banned loot boxes in 2018 based on lack of transactional value and belief that they were in actual violation of the gambling laws. Copying this, Brad Enright said they also do not want that happening as they have said to video games industries.