House of Commons Library

Loot boxes in video games

Published Friday, February 15, 2019

This Library Paper gives a brief overview of concerns about loot boxes in video games.

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In video games, a loot box is an in-game purchase consisting of a virtual container that awards players with items and modifications based on chance. They often appear as chests, crates or card-packs. Concerns have been raised that loot boxes may encourage children to gamble and lead to addictive behaviour.

The Gambling Commission has said that loot boxes do not fall under the Gambling Act’s definition of gambling and it therefore cannot use its regulatory powers in this area. However, the Commission does recognise the blurring of the line between video gaming and gambling.

The Government has said that it is aware of concerns that loot boxes could encourage gambling-like behaviour, could lead to gambling related harm, and will “look closely at any evidence around this issue”.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is looking at the links between gaming and gambling as part of its inquiry on immersive and addictive technologies.

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8498

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Gambling

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