The UK appears to be cracking down on loot boxes as new reports show the government is attempting to reclassify loot boxes as gambling.
According to a report by The Guardian, The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be calling for evidence on whether loot boxes should or should not be reclassified. Currently, gambling law in the UK does not loot boxes as the law stipulates items won through gambling must have some monetary exchange value.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has previously attempted to call for new legislation reclassifying loot boxes as gambling. As quoted from The Guardian, “they are a virtually speculative commodity that only help to normalize and encourage young people to take a chance.” This is likely a continuation of that legislative push.
For the most part, the games industry has been resistant to loot box regulations. For example, EA has labeled loot boxes “surprise mechanics” and NBA 2K20’s trailer showed examples of gambling while also saying it wasn’t.
Given how much money game developers make through loot boxes, it’s not surprising they are resistant to more regulations. However, these regulations are necessary as loot boxes have the same addictive qualities as gambling while also habituating children to gambling practices.