15 more nations have decided to weigh in on the current debate surrounding loot boxes. These countries are uniting together to investigate if the popular microtransaction system will constitute as gambling under national laws. This comes after many controversies surrounding the feature, the most recent being when 2K Games asked fans to contact the Belgian government over the issue.
Eurogamer has reported that a group of gambling regulators from various nations wish to “address the risks created by the blurring of lines between gaming and gambling”. The countries included in this collaborative effort include the US (through the Washington State Gambling Commission), the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, and many others. The specific objective of this collective is to tackle “unlicensed third-party websites offering illegal gambling linked to popular video games”. This would, of course, include the CS:GO betting lounge for skins.
However, this group also wishes to “ensure that features within games, such as loot boxes, do not constitute gambling under national laws”. This means that the many games with the loot box feature will be under much more scrutiny within the signee’s nations. It will also mean measures, such as DOTA 2 revealing the contents of its loot boxes, will becoming more prevalent if this investigation increases in significance.
This action was taken by the 15 nations most likely comes due to recent activity by various game companies. Apart from the aforementioned 2K Games incident, EA is currently under investigation in Belgium over this issue. This is of course in response to the company’s declaration that loot boxes do not constitute as gambling.
This increased scrutiny over loot boxes in Europe primarily began with the Belgian Gambling commission back in May of this year. The organization announced that they will now consider the random loot generation system as illegal if they do not adhere to the nation’s laws. If games are found to fail these standards, the Belgian government may consider criminal prosecutions.