Belgium says loot crates are gambling


Well, that’s what we already have. A minor can get a refund on nearly any transaction. This protects them, but also restricts their options (eg they can’t buy stocks). An adult can intervene to restore those options, but now the adult must supervise the transaction. This is pretty much ideal as far as I’m concerned.

An adult who intentionally defeats the legal protection of a child (eg giving them their password to a brokerage account, or giving them adult phone credentials) AND then fails to supervise the child gets no sympathy from me. Yet that adult is the real cause for all the uproar over loot boxes.


You’re not focusing on the child at all. It’s the child that gets the addiction. You just want to punish the adults while I want to protect the children. Those are different goals


A child can only get addicted to a game if an adult allows it. And the easiest way to break the addiction cycle is through that adult’s intervention. So that’s where the effort should be focused. I don’t believe that shifting that responsibility to someone else will help the child.


Fortunately since we have several laws around minors, society typically disagrees with you. We don’t allow children to gamble just before an adult says it’s okay for them to do so. If an adult gives them alcohol, we severely punish the adult. Technically we don’t really let minors buy rated R movies.

I’m fine with them trying to regulate this stuff around minors. We do it for several other legal things now. And, because of the press, I think the industry is going to get bigger push back had they actually tried to consider what this would lead to. If they look at gambling as a whole, MtG and sports cards might get hit too.


We don’t allow minors to buy lottery tickets - if we did, the minor could get a refund on all the losing tickets! But an adult can legally buy a lottery ticket and give it to a minor. And the minor can scratch it and claim the reward. Is that gambling? Is it different from an adult buying a loot box for a minor?


The minor cannot collect. They will get pretty much no satisfaction because they cannot claim the reward. If they, the lottery sanctioned store, are giving that money to the minor, they’re breaking the law. Why do you think a minor can collect?


They can collect in MA (my first google hit), subject to the usual financial restrictions placed on minors.

What happens if someone under 18 wins a large prize?
People under age 18 can’t purchase Lottery tickets. If an adult-purchased winning ticket is claimed in the name of a person under 18, the director may direct payment of the prize to the minor. For prizes less than $5,000, a check or draft payable to the order of the minor can be delivered to an adult member of the minor’s family or a guardian of the minor. For prizes greater than $5,000, the amount can be deposited in any bank to the credit of an adult member of the minor’s family or a guardian of the minor, with the adult acting as the custodian for the account.

Similar rule in New York.


That’s not the case in every state. You want EA to change their rules based on gambling laws per state… so loot boxes concede too being subject to gambling laws, then the parents use their credit cards but we’d be okay with that so the minors can have their loot but only in some states?

You googled, so I take it you don’t live in MA or NY?

Please correct me if I am wrong, Is your position then you want everything to stay the same as it is today. You think the laws, the rules, the system is set-up fine AS IS?


Personally, I love microtransactions/DLC/lootboxes/whatever…they allow me to play games in genres that I like but am only interested in playing casually and intermittently (MOBAs, arena shooters, CCGs) entirely for free on the backs of whales! That’s a good thing, IMO.

Moral panics around activities that children take part in come and go. Most of them don’t lead anywhere, fortunately. Otherwise the only game on the market now would be Lego games and Minecraft. This particular moral panic is mostly predicated on one recent poorly-constructed lootbox system. It’ll pass.


When I googled minors and lottery tickets, most articles address minors who buy lottery tickets - which of course are invalid. I found two states that described what happens when a minor gets a ticket as a gift from an adult. Wait, Connecticut makes that three:

“Qualified Person” means an individual who is eighteen (18) years of age or older. Persons under the age of 18 are prohibited from ticket purchases, but may receive tickets as gifts.

I haven’t found any states that make it impossible for a minor to collect winnings when the ticket was bought by an adult (though giving lottery tickets as gifts is clearly discouraged by many states). Which doesn’t mean it’s legal everywhere, but if not then I’d like to see a link!

I generally think the laws around loot boxes are fine as is, and I think the furor over loot boxes is reminiscent of the furor over violent video games, complete with the implicit threat to our children.

Some self-regulation might be helpful, as with violent video games and movies (you should realize that age restrictions based on movie and video game ratings are based on voluntary compliance, and are not legally enforceable).


2015 ORS 461.600¹
Sales to minors
Related Statutes
(1) Tickets or shares in lottery games, including tickets or shares sold from vending machines or other devices, may not be sold to a person under 18 years of age.
(2) Video lottery game terminals may not be operated by a person under 21 years of age.
(3) The Oregon State Lottery Commission shall establish safeguards to ensure that lottery game retailers comply with the requirements of this section. [1985 c.2 §5(6); 1985 c.302 §5(6); 2003 c.58 §3]

2015 ORS 461.250¹
Validation and payment of prizes

Upon recommendation of the Director of the Oregon State Lottery, the Oregon State Lottery Commission shall adopt rules to establish a system of verifying the validity of tickets or shares claimed to win prizes and to effect payment of such prizes, provided:

(1) For the convenience of the public, lottery game retailers may be authorized by the commission to pay winners of up to $5,000 after performing validation procedures on their premises appropriate to the lottery game involved.
(2) A prize may not be paid to a person under 18 years of age.
(3) A video lottery game prize may not be paid to a person under 21 years of age.

The violence in video games has come up time and time again, but I think this time it’s different. I think the industry is too late in trying to self-regulate. This isn’t so much about content anymore, this is about payment, transactions and addiction.


Oregon! I should’ve known. Well, that’s interesting, thank you!


The difference is there’s no proven causal link between violent videogames and actual violent behavior. There is a direct link between variable rewards, addiction, and children blowing tons of money.


Children will blow your money on all sorts of things if you let them, from Beanie Babies to Legos.

My house is full of Legos but for some reason my daughter wants more. She is not unique in that respect. Is it fair to describe Legos as “addictive”?

If the problem is that children want you to buy them stuff and you can’t resist, no legislator will help you.


No, she just likes legos. Variable rewards are proven to actually be addictive.


Ok, I’ll bite. What distinguishes a child who wants you to buy another loot box from a child who wants you to buy another Lego set?


What distinguishes a child who wants you to buy them more crack cocaine from one that wants you to buy another Lego set?


The cocaine addict will suffer acute physical symptoms if deprived.


So just to clarify, you believe only physiological addiction is real? That is the stance you’re taking?


Well variable is more fun to the brain than fixed or continous rewards, for sure. If Diablo spat out the same loot every time you killed something it would get boring quick(er).

But aren’t those other reinforcement schedules addictive as well, just to a lesser extent? Can you share how these studies you mention were conducted? How is addiction measured?