Q: Do you think opening loot boxes on a game should be considered gambling?
There also seems to be some issue about the definition of gambling itself, which remains rooted in this idea that the items being gambled for must have a physical, monetary value. That’s ultimately what we’ve heard out of Belgium, despite all the bluster, and while that might apply to something like CS:GO skins, Star Wars Battlefront 2’s Star Cards almost certainly wouldn’t meet that definition, if that’s the only way you classify gambling.
But perhaps the definition of gambling has to change, because there is simply no other word for what loot boxes are. When gambling was just…gambling, there was no such thing as a “virtual item” that was unable to be assigned a real-life dollar value. And yet, clearly people value these things, as they’re willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for the chance at getting them. What is the difference, exactly, between spending $2,000 on a slot machine to win a cash prize, and spending $2,000 on loot boxes in pursuit of a legendary item? Even if you cannot sell that item for cash, clearly, to you, it has a value of at least $2,000, and now EA or Activision or Valve has $2,000 of your cash to prove it.
There’s the old “trading card” argument where if loot boxes start being banned or regulated or unable to be sold to minors, shouldn’t card packs full of random rarity cards follow those same rules? To that I say, sure, why not? Do you know why I buy so many loot boxes and treasure chests and hero crystals in games now? Because I spent my entire childhood buying packs of Star Wars, Magic and Pokémon cards in search of the rarest ones. There was no reddit back then to vent about drop rates so this wasn’t a widely discussed issue, but it’s still prepping kids for gambling, and I would not shed a tear if trading cards were lumped into these regulations. And many of those cards do have a monetary value attached to them, unlike these virtual items.
- via Forbes.com