The backlash of Star Wars video game fans over the inclusion of microtransactions and loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefront II once again set the stage for the debate on whether or not Loot Boxes should be declared as Gambling? Last week, Belgium Gaming Commission announced that they have started an investigation in this regard. Today, we received an update via VTM News that the Commission has decided to declare Loot Boxes in Gaming as Gambling.
The Commission stated that “the mixing of money and addiction is gambling”. Koen Geens – Belgium’s Minister of Justice added that “Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age, is dangerous for the mental health of the child”.
Belgium Gaming Commission is not the only one that is going after the loot boxes, Hawaiian (US) House of Representative Democrat Chris Lee is speaking on this same line (i.e. get it ban completely) and have stated that he would take all steps possible to curb this “predatory behaviour” of video game publishers who use loot boxes.
As reported by our friend at Kotaku, Chris Lee said: “While we are stepping up to act in Hawaii, we have also been in discussions with our counterparts in a number of other states who are also considering how to address this issue. I believe this fight can be won because all the key bases of political support across the country are on the same side… And frankly, we don’t need to change the laws in every state – we just need to change a few and it will be enough to draw the line and compel change.
These kinds of loot boxes and microtransactions are explicitly designed to prey upon and exploit human psychology in the same way casino games are so designed. This is especially true for young adults who child psychologists and other experts explain are particularly vulnerable. These exploitive mechanisms and the deceptive marketing promoting them have no place in games being marketed to minors, and perhaps no place in games at all.”
It’s good to see that the outrage of Star Wars video game series fans finally got the attention of lawmakers. It’s still a long legal battle to get Loot Boxes under the gambling category and get it ban worldwide.