The UK gambling watchdog has told MPs in the country that the purchase of in-game loot boxes is not gambling.
As reported by the BBC, the ruling is due to there being no efficient way to monetise what is contained in the in-game packs and loot boxes. To be classed as gambling, a prize needs either a monetary value or simply be money.
The problem stems from unauthorised third-party websites that use in-game content such as clothing and weapons as a means of gambling — offering the chance to earn real money.
Banning loot boxes
Many parents have reported that their children have spent hundreds of pounds through in-game purchasing through games such as FIFA and Fortnite. Parents claim the mechanic to be a form of gambling, as children are tempted to purchase more to get the specific items they desire.
Gambling Commission chief Neil McArthur has said that there is "significant concern" with children making these purchases, but it does not qualify as gambling
"There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not such as some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry they are not gambling, but they are a lot like a lottery," said McArthur.
Last year Belgium banned the purchasing of loot boxes, stating it to violate its gambling legislation. Failing to comply with the laws can result in a hefty fine and a prison sentence.