One of the strategic analysts from the Compliance Division at the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, working out of the state of Victoria in Australia, has responded to a request from a concerned citizen about the inclusion of premium loot boxes in full priced games, and it was stated that premium loot boxes are considered a form of gambling.
PowerUp Gaming picked up the news from a post made on Reddit that contained the e-mail response from strategic analyst, Jarrod Wolfe, from the Compliance Division in Victoria, Australia. Wolfe explained…
“My name is Jarrod Wolfe and I am the Strategic Analyst for the Compliance Division at VCGLR. I have received your correspondence in regards to gambling functionality (loot boxes) being incorporated into games.
“Your research and suppositions on the matter are correct; what occurs with “loot boxes” does constitute gambling by the definition of the Victorian Legislation. Unfortunately where the complexity arises is in jurisdiction and our powers to investigate.
“Legislation has not moved as quick as the technology; at both State and Federal level we are not necessarily equipped to determine the legality of these practices in lieu of the fact the entities responsible are overseas.”
As the quote above states, Wolfe and the rest of the VCGLR believe that premium loot boxes fall within the realm of gambling, but getting legislation passed is an entirely different ball game.
Of course, things could be sped up thanks to various other lawmakers who have been making headway in putting attention on premium loot boxes thanks to the kerfuffle that was caused by EA and Star Wars: Battlefront II. The high-profile push back from consumers ended up getting Disney involved, Hawaii’s state representatives involved, the U.K., gambling commission, and the Belgian gambling commission.
With so many lawmakers all aiming to prohibit the sale of premium loot boxes to minors, perhaps legislation could move along a lot quicker than usual.
Wolfe does explain, however, that the Victorian regulatory body is limited to regionally domestic disputes. Wolfe stated in the letter…
“Gambling isn’t necessarily “Unauthorised gambling” so there are a lot of variables at play. For perhaps a real world example think of overseas betting agencies. Such as Bet 365 – Australians can and do use this service; yet it is clearly administered and run from the UK.
“This isn’t illegal. However, if that company set up “shop” in Victoria or started specifically advertising and offering gambling products to Victorians. Then we could investigate and it could be considered a breach of legislation and we would pursue, overseas or not. One of the downfalls is that using overseas based products, Victorian residents do not have us to investigate any complaints or issues they have.”
While Victoria may be limited in its jurisdiction, gamers are not standing by idly. They are contacting additional Australian outlets to get the news spread about the region in hopes of getting the fire lit under Australia’s legislators.
Hawaii’s representatives are also hoping to get legislation put into place by early 2018. Basically, it looks like most gamers the world around and most regulatory bodies the world around agree that premium loot boxes are a serious gambling issue.