Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Loot boxes can not be classified as gambling, according to the ESRB

Loot boxes can not be classified as gambling, according to the ESRB

While some might like the idea of unlocking random stuff, it's a pain in the neck for those looking for one specific item.

"ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling", the statement reads.

Because the player always received something, it was likened to buying collectible cards, where some packs will contain more valuable cards than others. "Real Gambling" is any sort of wagering involving real cash, while "Simulated Gambling" means that the "player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency".

Players might buy several loot boxes within the game, then gamble the loot they scored to try and improve their haul. With more and more gamers voicing their displeasure at how this little feature is now used as a microtransaction tool, expect more gamers to hate it in future games.

The ESRB also noted it does advise players of the inclusion of microstransactions, as the company "does disclose the ability to purchase in-game content via the Digital Purchases interactive element, which will accompany the assigned age rating and content descriptors for digitally delivered games and apps".

In recent years, console and computer games have started including loot box purchases.

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The ESRB already has categories for in-game gambling and real-world gambling.

Whether you get one item, multiple items, have to pay to open it, or have the option pay for as many loot boxes as you want, there's one constant: What you receive is nearly always completely random.

Furthermore, the loot system can not fall under the gambling definition since digital items do not have intrinsic value.

Games which include a loot box element need a gambling license, and the industry is closely regulated. I was rolling the dice with my money, relying on fickle fortune to score that Ralph McQuarrie concept art card I so desperately wanted (and, by the way, never got), and yes, by some measures that is awfully close to sinking money into scratch-off cards in hopes of the big payout. However, that would change if a gambling commission states that loot boxes are, in fact, a form of gambling. That's not quite the same as the guy who just funnelled his life savings into a slot machine.

The UK is now considering regulation of skin gambling and loot boxes, with a review by the UK Gambling Commission ongoing as of August 2017.

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