UK Government responds to loot box gambling query

UK Government responds to loot box gambling query

Just one day after an MP questioned what the UK’s Government was going to do to protect users from loot boxes, we have an answer.

Tracey Crouch, the Conservative MP for Chartham and Aylesford, replied saying that there is already extensive legislation in place on the issue.

Crouch insists that game items only take on a monetary value once they leave the game, and deferred any questions about in-game gambling to The Gambling Comission.

Below is her full reply:

“The Gambling Commission released a position paper in March 2017 detailing existing protections in place for in-game gambling, virtual currencies and loot boxes. The paper can be found on the Commission’s website at the following link," Crouch wrote. 

"Where items obtained in a computer game can be traded or exchanged outside the game platform they acquire a monetary value, and where facilities for gambling with such items are offered to consumers located in Britain a Gambling Commission licence is required. If no licence is held, the Commission uses a wide range of regulatory powers to take action.

"Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited by gambling is one of the core objectives of the regulation of gambling in Great Britain and a priority for the government. The Gambling Commission has a range of regulatory powers to take action where illegal gambling is taking place. Earlier this year the Gambling Commission successfully prosecuted the operators of a website providing illegal gambling facilities for in-game items which was accessible to children - the first regulator in the world to bring such an action.

“The government recognise the risks that come from increasing convergence between gambling and computer games. The Gambling Commission is keeping this matter under review and will continue to monitor developments in the market.”

This follows a number of triple-A games including Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Forza Motorsport 7 and Star Wars Battlefront 2 featuring loot boxes in-game.

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.