Report: EU should treat loot boxes as a consumer protection matter rather than gambling

Research says that parental controls should be easier to understand

Report: EU should treat loot boxes as a consumer protection matter rather than gambling

The European Union should handle video game loot boxes with consumer protection legislation rather than gambling.

That's the conclusion of a report conducted for the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCP) committee titled Loot boxes in online games and their effect on consumers, in particular young consumers, which says that that the business model represents a specific problem with games design.

Is it gambling?

The IMCP's research also says that different countries banning loot boxes under gambling legislation – as Belgium has done – represents a threat to the EU's single market, given that the same opportunities aren't available to all citizens across all nations in the union. Furthermore, the IMCP says that parental controls in games aren't an effective deterrent because they are often not on by default and guardians often don't know how to use them properly.

"It is therefore recommended to broaden the perspective beyond gambling aspects and approach the issue of loot boxes and other problematic game designs from a wider consumer protection angle," the report concludes.

The UK's House of Lords has recently said that loot boxes should be regulated as gambling.

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PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.


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