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By 18 September 2018 | Categories: news

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One of the controversies to emerge this year has been around loot boxes in games, and whether these constitute gambling. Now, fifteen gambling regulators across Europe, and the Washington State Gambling Commission, have signed an agreement to work together to address concerns about where gaming ends and gambling begins.

The obvious expression of this are loot boxes, where players may be compelled to pay real money for the chance of receiving some undefined in-game advantage. Indeed, the concern was most notably brought to the forefront when Star Wars Battlefront II launched earlier this year, although it is certainly not the only title that tried to make more money by implementing loot boxes. Under the new partnership, global gambling regulators have urged publishers to ensure that any loot boxes that they do deploy in their games don’t constitute gambling under their national laws.

That may prove to be tricky, with gambling laws often varying from one region to the next. What may be legal in one part of the world, may constitute gambling in another. As to how that will be addressed, when one version of a game is distributed across the world, is uncertain.

It is not just loot boxes that are under scrutiny though. So too are unlicensed third-party websites that offer illegal gambling linked to popular video games. Thus,  the video games is being urged to do their bit to help crack down on these websites.

“We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children,” explained Neil McArthur, chief executive and signatory for the Gambling Commission on the declaration. “We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected,” he concluded.

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