UK Gambling Commission reiterates that loot boxes aren’t gambling
The Gambling Commission, UK’s regulatory body for all things gambling, has spoken out again saying that look boxes are not considered gambling because you cannot win anything of monetary value.
Last November, the Gambling Commission published a worrying report stating that out of nearly 3,000 children, one-third had opened a loot box in a video game. Although the Commission did not find a link between those ‘surprise boxes’ and gambling, it did link them to the growing problem of child gambling.
A loot box is a virtual item which can be redeemed to receive a randomised selection of further virtual items, such as specialised equipment or an extra avatar in a video game.
Gambling is the chance to win something that has a monetary value
Neil McArthur, the Chief Executive of the UK’s Gambling Commission, sticks to the argument that there is a significant concern in regards to loot boxes, but under current UK law, they don’t classify as gambling as players do not win anything that has a monetary value. Instead, most in-game items are tied to the specific user account and can neither transferred to another account nor exchanged or sold.
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UK Lawmakers want to hold video games publishers directly responsible for skin gambling
Other than loot boxes, which cannot be considered gambling under UK law, the government wants to crack down on skin gambling. In skin gambling, gamers exchange virtual goods that they have won or bought in a game for gambling chips. The exchanges do not happen within the actual video game but rather on third-party sites.
However, the government has made it clear that it wants to hold games publishers like EA and Valve directly responsible who failed to do enough to prevent children from engaging in the exchange.
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Both Owners of FUT Galaxy fined for unlawful gambling
The case of FUT Galaxy shows that the Gambling Commission is serious and does not simply publish empty threats. In 2017, two YouTubers, Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby, plead guilty for offences including unlawful gambling, promoting a lottery, and inviting children to gamble.
Through their website, FUT Galaxy, users were able to place bets using FIFA’s in-game currency. The coins won could then be converted into real money.
After pleading guilty, Douglas was fined £91,000 and his partner, Dylan Rigby, was given a fine of £174,000, mainly because he had published videos on Youtube of him winning money without revealing that he was actually the owner of the site.