The Star Wars Video game is being examined by gambling regulators to determine if its loot boxes constitute gambling and require regulation. The release of the Star Wars Battlefront II video game in 2017 reawakened the worldwide debate about the convergence of video games and gambling mechanisms. Authorities in major cities of the world have expressed their concern about the reliance of the Star Wars Video Game on loot boxes, a random method of reward that enables a player to move through the game. Let’s take a wild guess, “You don’t know what loot boxes”.
What are Loot Boxes?
Loot boxes are what enable players in a video game to unlock equipment, special characters and vehicles by purchasing them with real money. But these loot boxes are randomized, so a player can spend $20 and get something beneficial or spend $200 and get nothing good. This is why gambling regulators compare its operation to that of slot machines. These loot boxes are very common in the Star Wars video game, hence the probing into by gambling regulators.
In fact, the progression system of players in the Star Wars video game and the effectiveness of their character depend heavily on the loot boxes which is bought with real money.
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Gambling Regulators’ Investigations
According to Juniper Research, a tech consultancy firm, the loot boxes industry is worth almost $30 billion and this makes it a main source of income the companies. But they are a major cause of concern for anti-gambling groups as they claim that the consumers of video games like Star Wars begin to demonstrate gambling-like character while buying loot boxes.
As a result, gambling regulators coming from sixteen different agencies signed an agreement in 2017 in a bid to deal with, according to the UK- based Gambling Commission “blurring of lines between gambling and gaming” after the Gambling Regulators European Forum. Authorities from the United Kingdom, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and others joined in signing this agreement.
A Hawaiian Democrat, and a State Representative, Chris Lee opined that Star Wars video game is created to bait kids into wasting money. He claimed that the loot boxes result in online gambling addiction.
The Australian Environment and Communications References Committee launched an investigation into loot boxing. The Committee said that loot boxes give video games companies an unregulated opportunity to exploit gambling disorders. Gambling Regulators have compared the system of loot boxes to a “predatory practice” and an online casino.
The UK Gambling Commission in 2018 reported that three out of 10 children had purchased a loot box in a video game. The Australian Senate Committee advised that a comprehensive review on loot boxes should be carried out. Netherlands and Belgium passed laws in 2018 that ban the purchase of loot boxes completely. Senior Officials at America’s major consumer watchdog, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complain that loot boxes are now rampant in the gaming world and they lure players into spending increasing sums of money for random loot. Children playing the Star Wars video game are especially susceptible to spending money on in-game purchases.
The Belgium Gaming Commission probed four games on the use of loot boxes – FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and Star Wars Battlefront II. This commission is of the view that loot boxes constitute gambling because they are “games of chances” where a bet can either result in profit or loss.
More also, some gambling regulators claim that the practice of loot boxes make gambling among minors to be normalized.
Do you have experience playing video games especially the Star Wars series or have you played a video game where you require in-game purchases to progress? Then drop a comment about what you think about the gambling regulators investigation in loot boxes.