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As we are all fighting to rid the world of loot boxes, there are some governments that are ruling against whether or not loot boxes are gambling. The latest is none other than the New Zealand regulator that state that there loot boxes “do not meet the definition of gambling”.
Trish Millward of the Gaming Compliance of New Zeland’s Department of Internal Affairs told Gamasutra on Monday that they simply do not show any signs of gambling and do not meet the government’s definition of gambling either. The recent drama surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront 2’s loot boxes sparked controversy around the world everyone was up in arms about the game’s malicious in-game purchases.
As much as New Zealand regulatory is against this in games Trish Millward told Gamasutra that they are monitoring the controversy regarding the issues but as far as making it illegal in terms of gambling, the process does not match the definition of gambling set in law back in 2003.
“While the payment of money for a loot box with the contents of which are determined by chance may appear to be gambling,” Millward said, “the Department is of the view that loot boxes do not meet the legal definition of gambling.” Trish went on to say that gamers “do not purchase loot boxes seeking to win money or something that can be converted into money.”
Even after the Hawaii Government announced that they will be investigating the connection between gambling and loot boxes, the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) stated that the practice cannot be cannot gambling but stating that “Loot boxes are a voluntary feature in certain video games that provide players with another way to obtain virtual items that can be used to enhance their in-game experiences,”
It seems that the fight will never end as 2018 might be the year where we change the law or perhaps start to truly regulate the issue. With so many governments denying the connection while others see it as a threat, no one knows what will come of this in the year ahead.