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Loot boxes in video games will not be banned in the UK, despite government consultation evidence of a “consistent” association between the characteristics and problem gambling.
Loot boxes have been compared to games of chance because they allow players to spend money to unlock in-game rewards, such as special characters, weapons, or outfits, without knowing what they will get.
The features, popular in games such as Call of Duty and the Fifa football series, were effectively banned in Belgium in 2018, but the Minister of Culture, Nadine Dorriessaid the UK would not follow.
Instead, after a 22-month consultation, she said the government would discuss tougher ‘industry-led’ protections with the UK’s £7billion gambling sector, drawing allegations from an expert that “the foxes guard the chicken coop”.
Legislate to impose restrictions or a ban on loot boxes as part of a overhaul of UK gambling laws could have “unintended consequences,” Dorries said.
“For example, legislation to outright ban children from purchasing loot boxes could have the unintended effect of more children using adult accounts, and therefore more limited parental oversight of their play and spending.” , said the government, in a response to the consultation published in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The government also concluded that while there was a “stable and consistent” association between loot boxes and problem gambling – identified in 15 peer-reviewed studies – it could not be sure there was a link. causality.
While the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has held back from proposing legislation, Dorries said: ‘Children and young people should not be able to buy boxes without parental approval . Additionally, all players should have access to spending controls and transparent information to support their game.”
Read more about Rob Davies’ report here: UK won’t ban video game loot boxes despite problem gambling findings