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Epic Risk Management “extremely disappointed” with Government’s failure to ban loot boxes

Epic Risk Management has expressed disappointment with the recent decision by the UK Government not to ban video game loot boxes.

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The video game feature was essentially banned in Belgium in 2018. However, Culture Minister Nadine Dorries confirmed that the UK would not do the same, and would instead consider industry-based restrictions.

Epic said it would use this decision as a “catalyst” to further improve its education programmes in schools, which are designed to expose the gambling-related risks that loot boxes pose.

Epic provided evidence of loot box-related harm to the UK Government 17 months ago, calling for a ban for use by under-18s and better education for parents and guardians.

The evidence included first-hand accounts from people affected; however, the company claims the Government failed to refer to this evidence when making its decision.

Epic Gaming and esports Consultant Jonathan Peniket, who has first-hand experience of loot box-related harm, said: “While I am happy to finally see the much-delayed response finally released by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, I find myself unsurprisingly disappointed with the conclusions made. Overall, this is a huge missed opportunity for strong and meaningful change.”

Loot boxes are currently available to any in-game player. Epic believes their use should be banned for those under the age of 18, as it considers them to be a form of gambling.

Ministers are expected to hold discussions with UK video games industry figures via a working group, with an update expected in early 2023.

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