The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, & Sport Committee has recommended that UK loot box regulations are established to bring the microtransactions under the purview of gambling laws. While the committee’s recommendation is not law, it has a good chance of being taken seriously by the country’s parliament.
UK Loot Box Regs Could Classify Microtransactions as Gambling
The DCMS report was released as the result of an inquiry by the committee. It’s a hefty read at 80 pages long, but the important bits are contained in the recommendations towards the end of the document. Frankly speaking, it neither begins nor ends well for the gaming industry.
Kicking off their recommendations is a statement that they “struggled to get clear answers and useful information from companies across the games industry”. While the report maintains that the “vast majority” of gamers have positive experiences with this form of entertainment, it also points out that a small minority exhibit addictive and destructive behaviors.
Consequently, the UK Loot Box report makes several recommendations, the most important of which are paraphrased as follows:
- The DCMS should focus on long-term research on gaming disorder.
- The government should require games companies to share aggregated player data and contribute towards research.
- Loot boxes should not be sold to children playing games.
- PEGI (the UK equivalent of the ESRB) should apply the “gambling” tag to games with loot boxes.
- The UK government should classify games with loot boxes as games of chance under Section 6 of the Gambling Act 2005 in the next parliamentary session.
- The government should detail their planned response to this report to keep the public informed.
The above is but a brief summary. You can read through the full report to get a broader view of the committee’s thoughts on the matter.
While the DCMS has made their recommendation, it’s up to the UK Parliament to actually follow through on it. If they do, some games in the UK may very well see a massive shift to their business model in the coming years.
What do you think of the UK Loot Box report released by the DCMS? Do you think loot boxes should be regulated the same as gambling? Let us know in the comments below!
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Robert N. AdamsSenior Writer
I’ve had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven’t stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs – I’ve tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I’m always looking to try more!
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