Australia turns up the heat on lockboxes


The controversy over lockboxes and their legal status continues to draw more attention from governments, with Australia now weighing in on the issue. Not the whole country, mind you, but the┬áVictorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), which wrote a letter stating that lockboxes were considered gambling under the country’s laws.

While the VCGLR doesn’t typically oversee video games, its opinion does carry weight in the government and could prompt action on the proliferation of lockboxes in online games. The problem? The government body says that it’s very hard to regulate and that “there are a lot of variables at play.”

“What occurs with ‘loot boxes’ does constitute gambling by the definition of the Victorian Legislation,” wrote VCGLR Strategic Analyst Jarrod Wolfe. “Unfortunately where the complexity arises is in jurisdiction and our powers to investigate. Legislation has not moved as quick as the technology; at both State and Federal level we are not necessarily equipped to determine the legality of these practices in lieu of the fact the entities responsible are overseas.”

Belgium and Hawaii recently had hard words for the practice of lockboxes in video games, while the Netherlands and France are investigating the scene. Some MMOs are getting ahead of the controversy by eschewing lockboxes in their business model, including City of Titans, World of Warcraft, Monster Hunter World, and Dauntless. Our opinion? Lockboxes suck.

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