Australia’s Victorian Commission For Gambling and Liquor Regulation(VCGLR) recently issued a statement where they said that practices of loot boxes in gaming are a form of gambling under the Victorian law. but Queensland Gambling Commission thinks it cannot be classified as gambling.
Kotaku is reporting that they reached Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation to inquiry about the legal status of loot boxes under Queensland. to this question regulator’s Robert Grimmond responded that they cannot put loot boxes under gambling as under the current legislation cannot classify it.
“Regrettably, as a regulator of legalised gambling in Queensland, I am not in a position to definitively advise whether ‘loot boxes’ or similar video game features would constitute ‘gambling’,” the regulator’s Robert Grimmond replied.
“However, I can confirm that video gaming which provides for ‘loot boxes’ would not fall within the meaning of a gaming machine as defined under the Gaming Machine Act.”
So what is Queensland’s Gaming Machine act? well it a law which was passed in 1991 and it does not have any provision for loot boxes and relates only to electronic gaming machine like the poker machine and for that reason, Grimmond says
“In view of the above, I do not consider that ‘loot boxes’ at the cost of real currency would constitute gambling. As such, the OLGR would have no legislative authority to regulate or ban these products.”
So basically Queensland Legislation has not been updated with time and so to classify loot boxes as gambling. the government will have to introduce a new legislation keeping in mind the current state of technology and online gambling.
Further EA also referred Kotaku to Entertainment Software Association(ESA) a U.S. association representing companies that publish computer and video games. when they were questioned about the recent controversy of Star Wars Battlefront 2 they said the following.
Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences. They are not gambling.
Depending on the game design, some loot boxes are earned and others can be purchased. In some games, they have elements that help a player progress through the video game. In others, they are optional features and are not required to progress or succeed in the game. In both cases, the gamer makes the decision.
One thing to note about the above statement is that EA is also the members of the ESA. so it’s not a surprise to see ESA defending EA and their game.
Anyways now three regulatory bodies Belgium, Hawaii and Victoria’s VCGLR have classified loot boxes as gambling and this numbers may grow as more countries investigate the matter.