It looks like the U.K. Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur does not see FIFA packs and loot-boxes as a form of gambling. Two new reports shed light on this very situation, which features McArthur and another U.K. Gambling Commission member’s words on the matter.
First and foremost, BBC.com (archive.is) reported the following information that touches on how the U.K. gambling watchdog does not currently oversee the purchase of in-game content like FIFA player packs and video game loot-boxes since there is no official way to “monetize what is inside them.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation iterates that buying and selling in-game content through unauthorized third-party sites is a thing, which U.K. Gambling Commission program director, Brad Enright, admitted that Electronic Arts — the one over FIFA— faced “a constant battle” against unauthorized secondary markets.
Enright noted, “There is unquestionably a demand for a secondary market.” Despite that though, speaking at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport select committee, McArthur added that under current legislation FIFA packs and look-boxes do not classify as gambling:
“There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not – [such as] some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry they are not gambling… but they are a lot like a lottery.”
The second publication site yogonet.com relays more of McArthur’s words and Enright’s thoughts on the ever-growing MTX epidemic.
The website in question says McArthur shares concern about loot-boxes in video games but sheepishly notes that the current law makes it hard to “define” FIFA packs and loot-boxes as gambling:
“The Gambling Act tells us that gambling means playing a game of chance for a prize, and you can certainly see circumstances where a loot box might fall within that definition, but where things become a bit more complicated are when one looks at the definition of prize, and prize is defined as being money or money’s worth. What that means is that the prize must mean something that is equivalent to money.”
The report’s third to last paragraph details how the pair (McArthur, and Enright) indicated that the commission had taken action “over more than 20 skin betting sites” in the last four years or so.
So what does this all mean? It means while betting sites are a problem to McArthur, Enright, and the U.K. Gambling Commission, FIFA packs and loot-boxes do not — under current legislation — classify as gambling.