Australia’s Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation issued a statement where they said that Loot Boxes in video games are similar to a form of gambling under the current Victorian legislation.
The issue come before the eyes of Victorian commission when a Reddit user named -Caesar contacted them and inquired about the legal status of loot boxes in video games.
He soon got a response from one of the Strategic Analyst for the Compliance Division at VCGLR Jarrod Wolfe who said that the all the elements of the loot boxes are similar to gambling under the Victorian legislation. you can check out the response from him below
“My name is Jarrod Wolfe and I am the Strategic Analyst for the Compliance Division at VCGLR. I have received your correspondence in regards to gambling functionality (loot boxes) being incorporated into games.”
“Your research and suppositions on the matter are correct; what occurs with “loot boxes” does constitute gambling by the definition of the Victorian Legislation. Unfortunately where the complexity arises is in jurisdiction and our powers to investigate.”
“Legislation has not moved as quick as the technology; at both State and Federal level we are not necessarily equipped to determine the legality of these practices in lieu of the fact the entities responsible are overseas.”
Caesar then followed up with Wolfe response by asking other related questions like the legal effect on companies based overseas? how will this effect Australian citizens? and what is the commission going to do about it?
To this Wolfe gave said gambling in gaming is not illegal and can be a feature in video games but for that, it must be regulated under run under proper admistration.
Gambling isn’t necessarily “Unauthorised gambling” so there are a lot of variables at play. For perhaps a real world example think of overseas betting agencies. Such as Bet 365 – Australians can and do use this service; yet it is clearly administered and run from the UK.
This isn’t illegal. However, if that company set up “shop” in Victoria or started specifically advertising and offering gambling products to Victorians. Then we could investigate and it could be considered a breach of legislation and we would pursue, overseas or not. One of the downfalls is that using overseas based products, Victorian residents do not have us to investigate any complaints or issues they have.
Wolfe further in his response says that VCGLR does not have the power to enforce the law on any commission. but they can work with the companies and other agencies to bring necessary changes like if any companies want to include significant elements of gambling in their products then they could work with “The Australian Classification Board” to make sure that their product gets an immediate R rating.
UK government is also investigating the matter and it may also declare it as a form of gambling forcing game devs and publisher to either make their game 18+ or remove the loot boxes completely.