A House of Commons committee has recommended that loot boxes should be regulated and children banned from purchasing them.
UK.- A new report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport committee (DCMS) has detailed a number of recommendations for the UK government to take into consideration. Among those recommendations, it says that loot boxes should be regulated and that children should be banned from purchasing them.
The report on immersive technologies was published on Thursday after months of parliamentary hearings with gaming and technology companies. The committee argues that loot boxes should not be regulated if they’re only for in-game success. However, it says that if they’re purchased for real money, they should be regulated. It also recommended the government classify loot boxes as a game of chance under the Gambling Act 2005.
Damian Collins, chair of the committee, explained that loot boxes are particularly lucrative for games companies. However, he said they “come at a high cost,” particularly for problem gamblers, while exposing children to potential harm. He said that purchasing loot boxes equals playing a game of chance and that gambling laws should be present. “We challenge the government to explain why loot boxes should be exempt from the Gambling Act,” he said.
Tom Watson, Shadow DCMS Minister, said that the results from the new report support his claims that the UK needs a new gambling act. This echoes the Labour party’s long-standing position on loot boxes,” he said. “However, making changes to the existing legislation will not be enough. We need regulations fit for the digital age, and this will require a whole new Gambling Act.”
Games industry body Ukie issued a statement
Dr Jo Twist, the chief executive of Ukie, said that the body will review the recommendations with seriousness and consult with the industry on how they can demonstrate their commitment to player safety, The Guardian reported.