Casino Watch Focus has long reported on the ongoing crackdown of loot boxes in video games. These loot boxes are essentially a slot machine mechanic, where the player buys boxes to open as they are trying to get game specific loot. In some cases this loot has value and is sold, which is the typical gambling. In other cases they can’t be sold, but the mechanics are designed to get children to chase the good loot or gear in a game and as such, they dump hundreds or thousands of dollars into them. Psychologically, they act exactly like slot machines and cause the same addiction you see with gambling. More and more jurisdictions are recognizing these gambling-eque loot boxes for the dangers they pose to children, and are looking to regulate them accordingly. Most recently, an example of regulation in the Netherlands saw a major court ruling against publisher EA for their Fifa soccer game as they classified loot boxes as gambling. Now it appears Spain has joined them and other European governing bodies in the notion that loot boxes should be viewed as gambling and regulated as such. SBC News reports:
Mikel Arana, Director-General of Spain’s DGOJ, has confirmed that the regulatory agency has advised the government to introduce changes to the ‘/Gaming Law/’ in order to reclassify ‘loot boxes as games of chance’. The DGOJ’s leader urged Congress to support the initiative yesterday, stating that the government will launch a public consultation before the end of the year, aiming for new regulations to come into force by the second half of 2021.
Furthermore, Arana supported the directive to Spain’s joint commission on the ‘*/Study of Addiction Behaviour//s/*’, whilst further advising the ‘*/Responsible Gaming Advisory Council/*’ to support its review in amending the current law to establish loot boxes as gambling components.
Mirroring European counterparts, the Spanish government aims to review its digital laws with regards to protecting minors by “limiting compulsive and impulsive transactions’. The DGOJ is reportedly seeking guarantees that loot box laws and gaming protections will be included in the next phase of federal gambling reforms sanctioned by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
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