With the uprise in loot box culture in almost all the modern games, people raised questions on government officials and especially, the UK government was pressurized to work for it. But it seems like the UK Gambling Commission has raised hands from this issue of gaming microtransactions. The gaming microtransactions have been there for quite a long time but now, the things are changing and in popular games like SW BF 2 where you have to pay to proceed.
The Government of UK’s Reaction
Tim Miller, the Gambling Commission’s executive director seems helpless in this matter and says that his hands are tied by the Parliament as this is not the gambling, we all have been watching:
The law sets a line between what is and is not gambling. As the regulator we patrol that line and where an activity crosses it and presents a risk to people, especially children, we have and will take robust action.
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. 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.
Many parents are not interested in whether an activity meets a legal definition of ‘gambling’. Their main concern is whether there is a product out there that could present a risk to their 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.
Where a product does not meet that test to be classed as gambling but could potentially cause harm to children, parents will undoubtedly expect proper protections to be put in place by those that create, sell and regulate those products.