Loot boxes are "psychologically akin to gambling", Australian study finds

CREDIT Blizzard Entertainment

Today, though, an worldwide group of regulators from 15 European regulation bodies and Washington state in the USA signed a declaration stating their increasing concern "with the risks being posed by the blurring of lines between gambling and other forms of digital entertainment such as video gaming".

"The use of gambling themed content within video games available to children".

U.S. and European regulators came together yesterday to sign a declaration dedicated to keeping in-game loot boxes in check.

Regulators are asking for the video game industry and technology platforms to help in stopping unlicensed, third-party websites who are providing the in-game gambling.

The global coalition, made up of European agencies and the Washington State Gambling Commission, said it's calling on the video game industry and tech platforms to help crack down on unlicensed third-party sites offering illegal gambling in video games.

Members are "increasingly concerned with the risks being posed by the blurring of lines between gambling and other forms of digital entertainment such as video gaming".

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The commission came together after regulators identified "a number of common principles including the need for gambling to be regulated to ensure high standards of integrity, fairness and consumer protection, in particular in relation to children". The UK's involvement is particularly notable, considering a 2017 position paper in which the country's Gambling Commission determined loot boxes were not a form of gambling if those in-game items could not be traded back for real-world currency. Which again illustrates why they're so down on third party websites that do allow that.

The report says "our large-scale study (n=7,422) found important links between loot box spending and problem gambling".

The signature page on the document includes Directors, Chiefs, and otherwise leaders of gambling authorities from major countries such as France, Ireland, the UK, Spain, the US in the state of Washington specifically, and many more.

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive and signatory for the Gambling Commission responded to the reasoning of the agreement.

"We commit ourselves today to working together to thoroughly analyse the characteristics of video games and social gaming", reads the declaration.

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