Update: The House of Lords Gambling Committee calls for immediate action on loot boxes

By Sean Carey,
The debate surrounding loot boxes and gambling has once again reared its head in the UK. A report published by The House of Lords Gambling Committee has called for the controversial monetisation technique to be regulated immediately.

Loot boxes

The recently published report reads, "There is academic research which proves that there is a connection, though not necessarily a causal link, between loot box spending and problem gambling." The Lords say that loot boxes should be "regulated as a game of chance", which would have them fall under the Gambling Act 2005. "If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling," the report states.

The Lords have urged the Government to act swiftly and say that a change should not wait. "The Government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation," reads a statement published alongside the new report.

Loot boxes have proved controversial over the last few years. Several countries in Europe and Asia have now banned the monetisation method claiming that they violate gambling laws. This forced companies like Epic Games to disable opening loot crates with keys in its game Rocket League in the Netherlands. Randomised loot crates have since been removed from the game in favour of a different method. More recently, the NHS Mental Health Director has called for an outright ban on loot boxes saying that they encourage children to gamble and to minimise the risk of gambling addictions.

The report rounds off by saying that the Government should create new regulations under the Gambling Act 2005 that state that loot boxes are games of chance, and things like FIFA player packs — and other mechanisms which require a player to pay money for an in-game randomised item — should fall under the same definition.

Update : UKIE (the UK's video game trade body) has said in a statement given to TrueAchievements and others that it has been working hard to address the concerns released from the Lords Committee report and points out its Get Smart About P.L.A.Y. Campaign. The campaign has been put in place to help educate parents and carers on how to limit children spending in games.

"The majority of people in the UK play video games in one form or another, so we take these concerns seriously. We've worked hard to increase the use of family controls on consoles which can turn off or limit spending and we will be working closely with the DCMS during its review of the Gambling Act later this year," said CEO of UKIE, Dr Jo Twist.
Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Sean joined the team as a Staff Writer for both TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies in 2019. He games across all platforms and is always looking for an excuse to replay any of the Metal Gear Solid titles.