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Loot Boxes

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The Spanish minister of consumer protection, Alberto Garzón, has released in the past days several tweets stating that the Ministry of Health, Consumer Protection and Social Welfare is currently looking into different options to regulate loot boxes. Garzón has publicly expressed a critical view on this practice on several occasions, which he considers “Creates a compulsive consumption pattern” that directly affects minors. The Spanish gambling authority (Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego) already anticipated last…

As it is currently being reported in many German news outlets, the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors (Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien, “BPjM”) has (upon application) opened proceedings to blacklist the mobile game Coin Master for its in-game monetization model which is allegedly targeted towards minors and would involve gambling-like elements. The game came under scrutiny in the wake of several adverse news articles in well-known German magazines and newspapers for its in-game…

In April this year, the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) announced the outcome of its investigation on loot boxes against three major companies from the gaming sector. The BGC found the investigated loot box mechanisms to be in violation with existing Belgian gambling laws by applying a very broad gambling definition (summary and comments here). The BGC also stated that “[g]iven the fact that only four games were examined, the problem might be bigger” and recommended a…

Since the loot box debate peaked again in April 2018 with regulatory enforcement action being announced or taken in South Korea, Belgium and the Netherlands, things have calmed down significantly. Nevertheless, several proceedings, investigations and legislative actions which were initiated during the first loot box peak in October/November 2017 are still ongoing, one of them being the investigation commenced by the French gambling regulator, the Autorité de regulation des jeux en ligne (“ARJEL”). For different reasons, the decision of the…

The worldwide loot box controversy continues. After the Dutch and Belgian Gambling Authorities announced enforcement action on loot boxes this week and the week before, a new loot box bill was introduced in Minnesota, USA this week. The bill joins other state level legislative efforts in the USA which were introduced since the global loot box debate peaked in the second half of 2017. This short summary describes the most notable political and regulatory reactions…