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NEWS 22 November 2017

Belgium condemns loot boxes as gambling and aims to ban them

By Manuel Marti
After the UK Government questioned the use and definition of loot boxes earlier in October, the gaming rewards have led to further controversy in Europe. The Belgium Gambling Commission has now concluded a report which highlights the dangers of loot boxes and aims to put end to these practices.

The Gambling Commission said loot boxes constituted another form of gambling and it emphasised this activity could encourage minors to gamble, leading to further gambling addictions.

The report follows a recent rise of this activity within AAA games, including Assassin's Creed: Origins, Forza Motorsport 7, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. Additionally, loot boxes have greater popularity in titles such as Overwatch, and the recently launched Star Wars: Battlefront II.

Loot boxes are random awards gained through either play or pay in many popular online video games. Although they are described as ‘loot’ they usually offer small in-game perks such as a unique camouflage or minor character upgrades. Most often a loot box will have no effect on anything other than the perceived prestige of the player collecting the loot.

The ruling aims to ban these in-game transactions, in the case where the buyer does not know exactly what they might get once it 'unlocks' to prevent problem gamblers.

Last week, The Belgium Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, told local news agencies: “Mixing gambling and gaming, especially at a young age is dangerous for the mental health of the child.”

RELATED TAGS: Online | Legal & Regulatory
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