A report from UK children’s commissioner Anne Longfield is calling for stricter laws on lootboxes and to amend current gambling laws to include lootboxes, once again raising the matter to Parliamentary attention.
Longfield’s report includes research and testimonials that state children are concerned that they are gambling when they purchase lootboxes in games like FIFA, with some children spending hundreds of GBP to chase their losses. As such, Longfield is recommending that UK lawmakers quickly amend section 6 of the 2005 Gambling Act to regulate lootboxes as gambling, as well as impose a legally enforceable age rating system on digital products and additional warnings for games that feature in-game spending.
The report also directed its focus to the length of time children spend playing video games, bringing up the concern of addiction to gaming as well. According to the report, 93% of children in the UK play video games, with children ages 10 and 11 spending two to three hours a day in online titles like Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft and children ages 15 and 16 spending one to three hours a day in games like FIFA and Rainbow Six Siege.
MPs in the House of Commons have previously called for lootboxes to be classed as gambling in the UK and to bar children from purchasing games with lootboxes for sale, while the National Health Service has recently opened a special clinic to help children and young adults who claim to be addicted to video games.
UK Interactive Entertainment, one of the country’s games industry trade bodies, has responded by pointing out efforts already in place by the UK games industry to educate people about video gaming such as the consumer site AskAboutGames and lesson plans for schools. “We recognise the need to educate players, parents and carers about safe and sensible play habits and for the industry to take an appropriate role in doing so,” said chief executive Jo Twist.
You can check out our previous coverage of the lootbox situation in the UK below: