French gambling regulator agains loot boxes in video games

10 July 2018

Although from the legal point of view, loot boxes can not be qualified as a form of gambling (as was done in the state of Nevada), they require regulation. This statement was made by the French regulator of gambling (ARJEL) in its report of 2017-2018, where the problems of loot boxes are considered.

Experts came to the conclusion that microtransactions in video games "undermine the goals of state policy with regard to gambling." In the report, the regulator also called for the development of a joint European strategy to address the problems associated with the widespread distribution of loot boxes in video games.

ARJEL experts believe that loot boxes are working on the feeling of "potentially dangerous losses", similar to the feelings of playing on slots, and this make players addictive to attempts to win. The regulator also called upon the relevant European bodies, in particular the European Forum of Gambling Regulators, to take collective measures with respect to loot boxes, including clarifying the rules for game producers, and raising the awareness of consumers (especially parents) about the potential risks they bear.

ARJEL said that it will continue to research loot boxes and related microtransactions. If they do not comply with the current legal definition of gambling, then, perhaps, existing laws will require updates.

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