Ireland don't want to hurry regarding ban of loot boxes in video games

2 October 2018

David Stanton, Irish Minister of Justice, stated that the declaration of the Gambling Regulation European Forum (GREF), which reflects concerns about the impact of online gambling, has no legal effect.

Loot boxes - virtual bonus packages in computer and video games. Several regulators of gambling in Europe expressed skepticism because, as they believe, this is a form of gambling.

However, Ireland does not intend to follow the example of other European jurisdictions and fight or ban loot boxes in video games.

If a game offers the opportunity to make a bet or take a certain risk for the sake of financial reward, then, in my opinion, it should be licensed as a gambling product. To offer gambling in Ireland requires a license in accordance with the laws regarding bets from 1931-2015 or the Gambling and Lottery Act of 1956. Commissioners for income are the main responsible authority for licensing in accordance with both acts with the participation of the Minister of Justice and Equality. However, it should be understood that if the game offers to make purchases, for example, boots, etc., which are advertised to gamers, increasing their chances of success, such purchases, in fact, are e-commerce. This activity will fall under normal consumer law,” - said Stanton.

At the same time, he noted that the Ministry of Justice does not have the appropriate authority to regulate game developers on how their products should work.

If there are complaints about the purchase or any objections from the buyer, they should be sent to the relevant authorities. My department has no authority to regulate the work of developers in terms of how their games work.

Ireland is currently developing a law on gambling, which will include the creation of an industry-independent regulatory body. It may appear at the end of this year.

In the meantime, Belgium continues to actively combat this type of rewards in computer games. Representatives of the Belgian Gambling Commission (BGC) are confident that the purchased versions of loot boxes contradict the national law on gambling.

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