Belgium says loot crates are gambling


#81

Cool. If they’ve already answered the question and the law is infallible, then there’s nothing to talk about here and we can close the thread.


#82

I’m just suggesting that if you want to change our existing laws, which already ruled on the physical examples, you might need something more than a dictionary to do it. You’re not defining at this point, you’re redefining it. And if digital boxes or loot boxes are going to be judged, they’re likely going to be judged using the same criteria that was used when sports cards and Pokemon cards were the examples taken to the courts.


#83

Hopefully it won’t go to the courts because the industry will come together and self-regulate. Like I said earlier in the thread, it happened before.


#84

Fuck it, I’m sick of this shit. Instead of respecting my opinions and offering counter arguments all I’m getting is a bunch of pedantic bullshit. It’s been a rough week so fuck off internet!


#85

Is clicking on a thread about a discussion you’re sick of gambling whether you’ll still be sick of it?


#86

Ideally sure, but the industry did kind of get slapped down and did not self-regulate when it came in-app purchases in trouble… I thought that was kind of trouble across the board. The similarities here is minors were involved, and I guess they assumed parents would self-educate and regulate and they didn’t. They wound up with surprise bills on their phones. This one though, I would hope most parents know that if you give a credit card to a kid on steam, for example, they will use it to buy stuff, in or out of game.


#87

Apple and Google allow parents to control in-app purchases, and the stores themselves now explicitly list the IAPs so there are no surprises. Apple even changed the button from “Free” to “Get” to make it clear that the app wasn’t necessarily free. This wasn’t in any way self-regulation, though-- Apple was forced to do all that stuff by the FTC back in like 2010.


#88

That’s my point. They aren’t good at self-regulating. I would hope they would self-regulate out of this but in the past, they didn’t, and the argument that the parents knew or could have known or somehow how should have been involved didn’t really save them.


#89

I’ll tell you what will really turn heads: When Disney yanks the Star Wars license from EA for damaging the brand, it’s going to make publishers freak the heck out.


#90

I am waiting for the inevitable South Park episode on loot boxes and/or PUBG.

Also, I support Belgium 100%. If companies can regulate each other, why isn’t it okay for ordinary people to do so?


#91

I think the legal definition is pretty good. And it turns on the fact that what you receive has an actual monetary value. In other words, if a stroke of luck is necessary and sufficient to improve your finances, then it’s gambling. And the point of regulating gambling is precisely to keep people from relying on it financially.

This obviously disqualifies loot boxes, which cannot make anyone rich. Neither can gumball machines, McDonalds happy meals, fortune cookies, and rental cars, all of which are also subject to chance.

If loot boxes are particularly irritating, then we should regulate them as loot boxes, rather than stretching an existing definition in an attempt to claim moral high ground. Otherwise you’ll end up making the same mistakes as the folks who insist copyright infringement is indistinguishable from theft.


#92

I am not stretching an existing definition, I am using the existing real-world definition. What a given government wants to regulate and enforce may well be (and indeed currently is most places, AFAIK) different and significantly more constrained.

Now, if we come to the purpose of regulating, I think the danger is not being able to win something with actual financial value - after all, if you are winning real money more than you put in that’s not exactly a problem for you - but spending money unrestrictedly to chase an uncertain outcome. It may well be that getting a literal cash payout has a greater psychological compulsion value, but we’re back to it being a question of degree, not kind.

And copyright infringement and theft differ in a clear material way (namely, in one case the item in question is duplicated and in the other transferred) that is not the case with the distinctions people are trying to draw between the things that are currently legally considered gambling and the things that are merely de facto gambling.


#93

Is opening a fortune cookie also de facto gambling?


#94

Depends on if you value the taste of the cookie. : )


#95

I’m not trying to be pedantic for no reason sorry. I’m just trying to point out that definitions aren’t as clear cut as people like to make them out to be, and when we are talking about trying to isolate good practices from bad it’s very important to have clear distinctions because trying to “solve” the loot box problem isnt’ acceptable to me if there is a ton of collateral damage to it (in good games that are incorrectly prevented because of it).


#96

I mean, if you can find someone who compulsively buys fortune cookies by the dozens and tosses the cookie away to get at a particular fortune inside, it might count? But I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that a) most people aren’t buying fortune cookies at all but getting them handed out with the check at a restaurant and b) most people are getting a cookie that they eat and the fortune is largely irrelevant. (Especially now that they’re never actually fortunes anymore. Fuckers.)


#97

I particularly liked how he, at 0:29, says “It’s a trap!” about the upcoming Star Wars game.


#98

So if you bring your prototype to a government official and ask, “Is this gambling?”, then the official response would be “Gee, I don’t know. Let’s wait until you’ve already brought it to market so we can look at how people tend to react, and then we’ll decide whether its legal”? Because that’s a terrible way to make law.

Either a product involves gambling or it doesn’t. You should be able to settle this before there is even a single customer. And nobody should have to worry that customers might be buying their product for the “wrong reasons”.


#99

Well, no, of course not. Your question is specious bullshit and you know it. I was just citing the grounds under which you might possibly have a case for arguing it.


#100

Fine. I have a new product. You open it and there is a piece of paper inside with randomly chosen writing on it. It cannot be redeemed or exchanged for anything else.

Is it gambling, or not?