The Daily Grind: Should MMORPG lockbox mechanics be regulated as gambling?

A reader named Paul recently wrote to us wondering why RNG lockboxes aren’t considered gambling. Oh sure, we call them gambleboxes, but the government — at least here in the U.S. — doesn’t.

But should it? When we talked about this topic a year ago, we discussed that game studios aren’t required to disclose the odds of winning anything from lockboxes. What protects them is the fact that your money has been turned into virtual currency that you spend on virtual lottery tickets for which you do get at least a reward equivalent of a pile of pocket fluff (which is why the CS:GO crackdown happened and MMO studios go right on adding more lockboxes). What protects you is… welp, just willpower.

I would love to hear our community’s thoughts on this. Are we just exaggerating and grousing when we call lockboxes gambling, or is this a legitimate issue for the online gaming industry? Should MMORPG lockbox mechanics be regulated as gambling?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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