The House of Lords Gambling Industry Committee has urged the UK Government to take "immediate action" on unregulated video game loot boxes.
After much political debate over the past year, BBC reports that the Lords have come to the conclusion that "If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling." Previously, a major loophole that stopped these systems from being classified as gambling was the fact that the games don't 'pay out' in real currency outside of the software itself.
The report itself goes into the correlation between loot boxes and problem gambling, arguing that there "is academic research which proves that there is a connection, though not necessarily a causal link, between loot box spending and problem gambling." While correlation does not equal causation, as the piece explains, any connection is enough to warrant serious consideration from the government.
Laying out their advice, the committee states, "The government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation." However, how quickly - if at all - the government implements legislature remains to be seen.
Still, the conclusion should be enough to make the major publishers nervous, and could result in an increased move away from loot box mechanics in anticipation of increased regulation in the future.
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