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Letâ€™s all agree that if a mystery box is placed in front of us, then weâ€™re intrigued. The urge to discover its contents eats away at us until we simply HAVE to take a peek. Who knows, it could contain the answer to life! But what if we told you that business tycoons and video game developers have taken advantage of this weakness and are making billions out of our curiosity and our hope for something good? Yup, no longer is it just the bookies and Timeform running the gambling world, gambling has been taken to a new level and has infiltrated the world of gaming as we know it – and you could be a participant without even realising it.
Why Are Lootbox Purchases Considered As Gambling?
In the past, you would have to â€œearnâ€ a lootbox, either by exploring every nook and cranny of a game or by earning them as a reward. Game creators had to make their money somehow, however, and thus the concept of purchasing a lootbox was born.
But hereâ€™s where the problems arise. No one knows whatâ€™s inside of a lootbox until the purchase has been made and thereâ€™s simply no â€œtake backsiesâ€. So, without it intending to be a gamble, essentially, this is exactly what the â€œpurchaseâ€ is. You might be rewarded with the golden armour you had hoped for and â€œwinâ€ the bet but you could also be disappointed with your loot time and time again â€“ losing your hard earned cash in the hopes that the next box will have the treasured items youâ€™re after.
Of course, there is the argument that in this instance, you never walk away with nothing, so technically, you have not â€œlostâ€ everything as you can in a game of poker, for instance.
What Are The Concerns?
The biggest concern lies with kid gamers. Children as young as 10 are using their allowances to purchase loot crates without knowing â€œwhatâ€™s in the boxâ€. Essentially, these youngsters are being exposed to under-age gambling. There have even been many reported cases where under 18s (and adults) have become slaves to gambling addictions as a result.
How Should Lootboxes Be Regulated?
Many agree that the same protective methods should be implemented as per your typical gambling games. But while previous attempts to regulate loot boxes have been made, the efforts have been somewhat futile. Thus far, the focus has been on consumer protection and the safety of children online.
The red tape is that loot crates do not exactly fit the legal definition of gambling. The overwhelmingly negative response to the concept, however, indicates that the definition as established by many governments is perhaps out of touch. The reality is that without proper classification or any real rules, gaming manufacturers can continue to intentionally work with these blurred lines and take as much money from kids as they can in the process.