Belgium says loot crates are gambling


At the time, the violence probably was legal (or overlooked by judges/government). And in no context is everyone obeying the law.


There are plenty of laws aimed at psychological effects. The UK has for the last couple of years had a general ban on psychoactive substances, with enumerated exceptions for tobacoo, alcohol etc.


The point is that if you were determined to exchange a voucher for money, there is a clear way to do it in theory. And the same is not true of loot crates.

One is not plenty. And the one example you give has been criticized, even by the government itself, as flawed legislation that is difficult or impossible to enforce.


We regulate gambling a lot. There’s a reason why most the casinos in the USA don’t want to touch online. You can’t really buy them online and several states regulate what you can purchase them with… like no credit cards.


I’m not sure if you were responding to me, but of course I agree that you can regulate gambling. Just that the regulations don’t rely on its psychological effects.

So if tomorrow a casino invented a super-addictive new game, the same regulations would hold. Likewise if it were shown that a particular game has no addictive properties or other negative effects, then it might still be regulated if it offered cash prizes.


Yeah I mean just look at Draft Kings (and those style of fantasy sports betting). I think you’d be hard pressed to find a common person to say that’s not gambling but it’s been proving extremely difficult to rule as illegal (NY tried, and failed last I heard).

So existing laws don’t even cover more obvious attempts at gambling, let alone grey area ones like loot boxes.


I believe the attempt prevent online gambling is an attempt to make it harder to gamble because we can’t really stop the feel good aspect but we can try and make it more difficult to sit there and gamble your salary away all day.

I am not really sure how this is going to pan out. They might actually relook at gambling as a whole or try to regulate just games. It was a stupid move by the industry, but as far as I am concerned, we need to get the minors out of this cycle of pumping money into these games… I know there is this whale chase, but I just don’t think children should be anyone’s whale.


You mean, like the stock market?


Or, you know, state-sponsored lotteries and scratcher tickets.


Sure, poker is gambling so playing the stock market is too. Rewards don’t need to be 100% random to define an activity as gambling.


Strangely, in both cases you need to be at least 18 years old. I agree with Nesrie, here. If you’re going to do something, do it to protect minors. Adults doing stupid things will never really be stopped, but preventing children from be monetarily exploited is surely a goal we can strive for.


But we already have protections for minors. A minor can void any contract and literally get their money back, at any time, for anything. Not just loot boxes. They can get a refund for nearly anything. There are few exceptions and they don’t apply to loot boxes.


This seems like an area where the games industry could pretty easily and profitably self-regulate and put in some parental controls of some type. That would surely be better than hoping that legislators will get involved in game design, which is certainly a cure worse than the disease.


Have you tried this in practice, found some kid to get all his money back from a loot box? It took a government agency to get it back from Amazon and Apple.


Call the credit card company, initiate chargeback, the end.

Now maybe you are thinking, “If you do this, Apple will close the account.” Yes, they might. “But that means that any adults on the same account will lose access to their stuff!” Yes, they might.

The children are always protected. Apple will not collect $10,000 from them. But the idiot adults who didn’t properly supervise their own phone may suffer.


I don’t find the current scenario that you’re saying solves this problem to be acceptable. And more importantly than that, the industry did such a poor job in self-regulating in this area, they’ll probably not get a choice in the near future.


Any law that tries to protect children can be circumvented by an adult willing to do what they want.

In other words, you can outright ban sale of loot boxes, but the child will just ask an adult to make the purchase for them. Or ask for their credentials, which is basically what they get when you hand an unlocked phone to them. How can you possibly stop that?


People still speed! Why bother with speed limits?


That’s not the point. Any law designed to protect children can legally be circumvented by an adult who acts on their behalf. And that’s by design, because it allows adults a way to monitor and approve what a minor is doing.

Honestly, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for adults who gave their credit card info to an unsupervised child and are surprised when someone will no longer do business with them. It’s irresponsible. It’s not that hard to set up a restricted account on a phone that a child can use without risk of unwanted charges.


Like parents buying GTAV for 10-yr-olds. Sure. It happens all the time. No argument there. It’s still a good law to restrict direct sales of Mature games to minors.