Loot boxes are coming under increased scrutiny throughout the world. In the UK, the Royal Society for Public Health has published a report on the negative effects of modern gambling, calling for an overhaul of regulations on, among other things, loot boxes.
The extensive report (via The Guardian) discusses loot boxes as well as skin betting in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These issues have come up in the UK in the past, but the RSPH is reporting continued issues with youth and gambling.
According to the RSPH report, which explored the “views and attitudes of young people aged 11 to 24 towards gambling,” young people consider gambling to be an increasingly normalized presence in their lives. The report also says that the youth believe loot boxes and skin betting to be “highly addictive forms of gambling,” and is a negative relationship for their generation.
The RSPH calls for more information at schools and for parents and teachers about modern forms of gambling. It also calls on the purchase of loot boxes and skin betting to be “legally recognised as forms of gambling,” and for game developers and platforms to do more to make the risks associated apparent.
A spokesperson told The Guardian, “We have committed to a review of the Gambling Act and take concerns around loot boxes in games very seriously.”
Earlier this year, the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published its own report recommending the regulation of loot boxes under the Gambling Act. And while this is all happening in the UK, legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate to impose regulations on loot boxes.
Many game companies have even spoken out about the issue, with several major platforms and publishers including Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo committing to new policies around the disclosure of loot box odds. The tide seems to finally be shifting away from this monetization model, or at least towards better regulations.