Spain consults on loot boxes in gambling law

The Spanish gambling regulator called for the consultation.
The Spanish gambling regulator called for the consultation.

Spain has opened a public consultation on a potential modification to gaming law to define loot boxes as a gambling vertical. 

Spain.- The  Ministry of Consumer Affairs has launched a consultation over plans to update Spain’s gambling laws to define loot boxes as gambling products

The amendment would give Spain’s regulator, the DGOJ, oversight over consumer interactions on in-game purchases in video games and incentives that require a financial transaction.

DGOJ President Mikel Arana called for the consultation in November, claiming that loot boxes posed a health risk for gambling addiction and other compulsive behaviours among young people.

The regulator opened its own consultation on loot boxes in January.

Spain’s joint Commission on Addiction and Responsible Gaming Advisory Council also supported the call. 

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs says it will use the consultation to define whether loot box transactions may be regulated within the framework of Spain’s existing gaming law, which was most recently updated in 2011.

The ministry will later look into the question of whether video game publishers will be required to have gaming licences if their games feature loot boxes and whether they should pay a levy on transactions. 

The consultation document states: “The loot box phenomenon can have potentially dangerous effects on certain groups of players.

“The evident connection between some random reward mechanisms and gambling brings with it the negative consequences traditionally associated with the latter, which particularly affect certain vulnerable groups.”

Loot boxes have gained the attention of legislators and regulators across Europe. Consultations have already been launched in the UK, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

The EU’s own Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection has recommended the bloc take action on loot boxes, but it has been difficult to achieve harmony in the area because gambling legislation in each state includes different definitions of games of chance.

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