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UK Government could debate loot boxes and gambling in parliament

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One of the hottest topics in the industry right now is loot boxes and how the industry has changed so drastically with them. Almost every game these days has these loot boxes included in them to allow for some sort of extra in-game purchase option be it cosmetic or pay-to-win. The sad thing about them is that they are, in theory, no different than gambling in many gamer's eyes. You place a bet on something in hopes to get something cool and when the box opens you either win the loot you want, or you get the biggest load of rubbish.

Right now the only people that can help with this issue is a government of some sort and the latest petition created by Connor Rhys Deeley could see the UK government jump into the problem and discuss it, if enough attention is given to the subject, however. In order to get this into parliament, a petition to the UK Government has been opened which aims to get 100,000 people to sign before this issue warrants a debate. 

The petition that has been started discusses the possibilities of loot boxes being gambling, but it also touches on how it could not be too.

Many video game companies in recent years have introduced mechanics which are essentially gambling of which are targeted at children and vulnerable adults. While not currently considers gambling by law they do copy many traits to make them as addictive and can lead to real money being lost/earned.

Gambling in video games mostly involves 'loot boxes' where players use virtual currency (often bought with real money) to earn in-game items often worth less than what they paid (sometimes more) hence it's gambling. Currently, only China has introduced new laws to force companies to display the odds of winning which had been standard in the UK gambling industry for years.

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The petition description goes on - The Gambling Commission has strong powers to regulate gambling and is monitoring convergence between gambling and video games closely. The government is committed to protecting children from harm. Consumers are also protected by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This includes a requirement on businesses not to subject anyone to misleading or aggressive marketing practices, or, for example, direct exhortation to buy products, such as games content, including in-game purchases such as loot boxes. The government is committed to ensuring that consumers are properly protected and that children’s vulnerability and inexperience is not exploited by aggressive commercial practices.

Basically, the UK government could recognize that there could indeed be an abuse of laws in loot boxes and there are regulations that protect gamers from these abuses. In the end, while there have been hundreds of makeshift petitions in the past, this could actually get somewhere. You need to all sign it as this could be the one and only attempt to get these loot boxes toned down a bit.

Find out more about this petition here.

Do you think this will lead to something greater? Let us know in the comments below.

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