France has ruled that loot boxes are not a form of gambling. This is according to the regulatory body ARJEL. Loot boxes have been a hot topic in video game journalism and ethics in recent months. The Netherlands has all but outlawed them, while many consumers have grown increasingly tired of them. It seems like most countries are having their say on the matter. This time, France has spoken.
ARJEL, the French regulatory body, an authority on online gambling, has said that loot boxes are not gambling because they don’t carry any real-world value. ARJEL did, however, add that the topic is ripe for further discussion and closer examination. Its conclusion is that Europe needs to come together and figure loot boxes out as one whole.
This is all part of ARJEL’s 2017-18 activity report, which is entirely in French, so thanks go to Videogamer’s news post on the subject. Although ARJEL argues that loot boxes are not a form of gambling, they do agree that the system can be harmful to children in introducing chance elements. Consumers will always win something from a loot box, but nine times out of ten, it is not what they would have wanted. It’s a grey area, that’s for sure.
Loot boxes in games such as Rocket League, Overwatch, and Fifa 18 aren’t great for children but do not count as an illegal form of gambling. The Netherlands feels otherwise and has been clamping down on what it sees as offenders in recent weeks. As long as the developer plays no part in the sale and allows no resale in France, no legal action can take place.
It’s difficult to back the use of loot boxes, but at the end of the day, if they only offer cosmetic items that cannot be resold, are they really harming anyone? We just wish that we return to the days of unlocking bonus content through gameplay, not payment.