Belgium says loot crates are gambling


#41

And if the stickers, or baseball cards, or toys are being distributed randomly, then those are also gambling.


#42

Plus, as I pointed out in one of the other threads on the loot topic, once physical cards are packed into a booster, it’s pretty much up to luck to determine what you get. When you buy a physical blind box, the contents of that package were set long before you paid for it. With digital loot boxes, you are at the mercy of the game’s code right up until you see the actual prizes. You may be getting completely different odds than the guy in Albuquerque.


#43

None of it is literally gambling, but the random rewards are similarly dangerously addictive, fostering compulsion in a brain-hacking skinner box operant conditioning sort of way. That’s bad.

Personally, I don’t really give a shit about that. I care about P2W.


#44

Except, you know, current laws pretty much everywhere disagree with you for a number of reasons.


#45

There’s also the issue that if you don’t want/need the cards you get in a physical product you’re able to trade them with other players, where as in Hearthstone/Overwatch/Battlefront you can get some crafting materials at a rate way lower than what the card is “worth” if you were to craft it with the same materials. Loot boxes that allow you to trade your rewards (Valve, most of Guild Wars) are way less scummy imo.


#46

I’m not sure that I believe magic isn’t gambling just because they disclose some of the numbers. You are still putting money into a blind situation and hoping for an outcome that you like. I think that is gambling is principle no matter how you slice it.

That said I do agree that disclosure to inform consumers as to what they are getting in terms of odds is a lot better in Magic than lootboxes theses days. It’s still a game of chance hoping that your money produces the outcome you desire (you get the card you want) but at least the odds are a bit more transparent. I think the Foils and Untra-Rares step on this a bit, unless the exact odds are disclosed of what the sort for those cards are.

I still think you should have to be over 18 to engage in these “chance buys”, but that’s ultimately a decision for society at large. I do maintain that any time you are spending money. and specifically having the the outcome withheld, you are gambling, regardless of if the odds are disclosed or not.


#47

Do you consider baseball card gambling? What about Tsum Tsums. If something is in a box and you don’t know what you’re getting but your obviously getting something because it’s in your hand and no one is going to take it away from you or alter it… like is the only thing in your mind that makes it gambling is you don’t know what you’re going to get?

Now with lottery tickets, which I don’t play, you often get nothing, a whole lot of zero. And I thought most of the digi fronts, it’s zero too… you can’t sell it.


#48

Yes, I do consider baseball cards gambling. Not sure what Tsum Tsum is, but probably.

I think the fact that you are definitely going to get something makes it a softer form of gambling than the lottery or a casino, but I definitely think these things are on the gambling spectrum.

Now I do think this kind of gambling can be fun, but it also can be addictive and dangerous and I think that these potential harms should be taken into account when we discuss access to these things for children.


#49

I’ve got concerns using that as a definition. If we went with that definition, you couldn’t even buy a surprise candy bar flavor. I’m fine with people buying some unknown chocolate bar, and by people I mean children too. I’ve never seen an addicted gambler stand in a 7 elven and buy 100 candy bars for the thrill of it and to get that one. They might do it two or three times though and wind up with candy they can then give away or sell to someone.


#50

I don’t know that I would ever consider collectible card games to be gambling of any form, nor collectible cards, period. As for the gaming loot boxes, those are really akin to nearly every fair game I’ve played, like, ever. And kids are allowed to play those, they aren’t illegal, they don’t have notifications upon entering the fairs, and nobody makes a huge fuss over them.

I’m not in favor of them in gaming for the purpose of P2W or pay for advantage, but that doesn’t mean I think they are illegal, nor the practice of a shitty parent company using them being illegal either. Hell we could all probably name several kids games that require purchases for things in game. And kids games in the past that were physical that did the same. Nobody lost their mind, then.

I think Belgium and Hawaii are overstepping the bounds of illegality with what they are just not liking as a form of game play.


#51

To be clear, all “Belgium” has done is have the head of a body with no inherent power say that he thinks lootcrates are gambling, within the existing legal framework. To actually do anything about it, after making a formal finding, it would have to report the alleged criminality to the police.


#52

Ahh, noted. I thought they had already moved toward it being illegal. So, similar to Hawaii, nothing is in place, at least not yet.


#53

Well, like I said it’s up to us as a society to determine how we handle these issues of “chance”, and where we put the line. That said chance is a factor in these purchases as an indisputable fact and should be considered as we develop rules around them.

Definition of Gambling from Merriam-Webster
gambled; gambling play \ˈgam-b(ə-)liŋ
intransitive verb
1 a : to play a game for money or property
b : to bet on an uncertain outcome
2 : to stake something on a contingency (see contingency 1) : take a chance

I would argue that all these things are effectively “betting” on an uncertain outcome.

How we feel about that as a group is obviously subjective. Gambling is a pejorative term, so the response to my use of it in this context is certainly understandable and even expected, but facts are facts. In any of these things you are staking money on and uncertain outcome and this is factually gambling.

There is definitely a spectrum of how these games of chance both big (lost the house at a casino) or small (got a candy bar flavor I dislike) should be handled, but it doesn’t change the factually definition of what we are all doing.


#54

Sure, those don’t fit the current legal definition. They’re still clearly gambling.

Exactly.


#55

Having seen what happens when Magic experiences a boom in popularity with a middle-school-aged population multiple times in my life, I’d be very comfortable with it being more heavily regulated as gambling or whatever you want to call it, because that shit is cardboard cocaine and kids are helpless against it.

Then again, as a casual player, I’d love to see rarity done away with and the secondary market wrecked by a glut of power-cards, because I want to play a deck with a bunch of Ancestral Recalls in it but I don’t wanna blow $1000 on fucking cardboard.


#56

I don’t see the difference. Replace “mythic rare” with “legendary” and it’s identical to Hearthstone. The foil thing is literally the same thing as Hearthstone’s golden cards.


#57

#58

I think magic could be considered gambling indeed if loot boxes are. There’s a difference between magic and heartstone in the possibility of trading those cards with other players (you keep the card even if you have no use for it) while in Heartstone you can’t keep the card once you have too many, period (it’s changed by a crafting amount that has less value than the card as defined per the game systems). Thus the value of a Heartstone booster is thus way more variable.

It’s a significant distinction.


#59

Regardless of my feelings on if loot boxes/mtg/whatever are gambling, I don’t see any legal remedy that works without being overly broad and impacting non-shitty practices or being too specific and easily skirted.

Should Overwatch be illegal even though it fully supports continued development of the game without paid expansion packs and has zero consequence to the gameplay itself (since it’s all cosmetic)?

Should Assassin’s Creed Origins be illegal because it has loot boxes even though you can’t buy them directly with real world currency?

Should Destiny 2 be illegal?

Should Diablo 2 be illegal because everything has a random chance and since there is trading outside markets formed to pay items?

Should Candy Crush and Tsum Tsum be illegal because it allows you to buy extra lives to give you more chances to play the (free) game?

Should humble bundle monthly be gambling because you are paying real money without any idea of what you are going to get, with games that may be valuable to sell on third party markets?

There are so many edge cases that talking about making laws around this is just ridiculous, and I"m very far from an anti-regulation person. We already have parental controls on devices that prevent children from making in app purchases. They get around this easily with retail gift cards. Are we going to outlaw retail gift cards too?

Edit: My wife plays Candy Crush and Tsum Tsums a retarded amount, like probably more than I’ve played on any single video game and probably more than I’ve played video games if you compare year over year. Yet she has only purchased probably $50 total from both games combined while I’ve probably spent at least $300 on games in the past year (not counting hardware!). Shit I’ve spent probably $100 on humble bundle monthlies for games I haven’t even gotten to yet, at least she got use out of some of the money she has spent.


#60

Well even in this thread that’s not an agreement really.

I used a fair amount of my allowance on magic cards and baseball cards. I still have them. I can sell them, magic since baseball is worthless, but there were several other card games that didn’t make it. I still have the cards though, they’re just not worth anything. I got what I paid for though. No one said every 2.99 or 3.99 would turn into thousands decades later… that doesn’t make it gambling though.

My issue with these digital stores is you can pay for something and it can be worthless the next day, you have nothing, and there is nothing that stops the creator from just changing their mind. Heck they can even pull the item back right? Like you got a loot box, great item and then they just take it.

And even with traditional gambling, legally we’re not really doing it online… for adults for the USA.