In recent years, we are seeing more and more countries put a stop to video game loot boxes. Spain is considering doing the same thing in order to prevent pathological behavior that can often lead to gambling addiction. In this piece, we will discuss whether loot boxes should be considered gambling and what would be the best way to regulate this problem so do not miss out.
Should Loot Boxes Be Considered Gambling?
Spain is likely to become the first country in the European Union that will put in place a dedicated law in order to regulate the use of loot boxes in video games. The main goal of this precedent is to prevent thoughtless, compulsive, or even pathological consumer behavior.
In reality, what are loot boxes? Basically, loot boxes are digital packages that can be bought with real money. Every loot box guarantees a “win”. This means that you are definitely getting something in return(which is not the case with casino games and other forms of gambling).
From the government’s perspective, loot boxes are providing high-income margins for companies. They do that by randomizing the chances and adding tiers to the potential prizes that can be won from loot boxes.
Basically, loot boxes have been in the esports ecosystem ever since the first tournament was played. On one hand, we can’t deny that loot boxes are providing a reward for the invested money, which technically is really hard to consider gambling.
On the other hand, all of the prizes you can win from loot boxes have a price tag next to them. Furthermore, esports betting can be labeled as a form of randomness, and the same thing applies to loot boxes. You never know what you can win, so technically, you are gambling.
Public Input Will Determine How Loot Boxes Will be Regulated
As of yet, Spanish law to regulate loot boxes is not active, but the government led by Consumer Minister Alberto Garzon put an emphasis on social perception and willingness to find the best way to regulate video game loot boxes.
From the 2021 study, three out of ten students spent money on various visual looks, characters, images, etc. They stated that the worst part about loot boxes is the fact that this form of gambling is available to children who can get addicted.
Diablo: Immortal Faces Problems Due to Gambling Regulations
The same way EPIC called for a loot box ban in the UK, both Belgium and Netherlands took things one step further, and apparently, they will block the game. Even though Blizzard leadership stated in numerous interviews that the core of the game is completely free to play, this did not help their cause.
The future of Diablo: Immortal and other video game titles that use the loot box narrative to increase income is definitely in question, at least in these countries. Given the fact that there are more and more regulations regarding loot boxes, it is going to be interesting to see which ways will video game companies find to increase their income if loot boxes get completely banned.