While you were eating turkey and buying loot this past weekend, the lockbox saga was trundling onward.
The UK Gambling Commission has formally stated that it does not believe lootboxes and lockboxes should be classified as gambling – yet. “A key factor in deciding if that line has been crossed is whether in-game items acquired ‘via a game of chance’ can be considered money or money’s worth,” says the commission. “In practical terms this means that where in-game items obtained via loot boxes are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out it is unlikely to be caught as a licensable gambling activity. In those cases our legal powers would not allow us to step in.”
That said, the commission further notes that even if certain “activities” like lockboxes fail to meet the legal definition of gambling, it has a responsibility to parents and children.
“We are concerned with the growth in examples where the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred. Where it does meet the definition of gambling it is our job to ensure that children are protected and we have lots of rules in place, like age verification requirements, to do that.”
In other words, online games that rely on lockbox gambling to make bank may ultimately find themselves rated right out of the teen market.