Most games offer in-app purchases that include ‘loot boxes’ which are prizes that often look like treasure chests.
‘Loot boxes’ are bought with real currency and are regarded as gambling because players cannot always see what’s in the boxes before they click buy – this introduces the element of chance which is central in gambling practice.
This means that users are unable to decide if their goods are worth the price being asked for and can encourage multiple purchases to ‘win’ the desired loot or to ‘recover loses’. The concern here is that not all young people will fully understand or calculate their chance or control how they spend their money.
Popular games that can contain Loot Boxes are; FIFA, League of Legends and Fortnite Battle Royale.
In 2019, MP’s called for in-game spending to be regulated by gambling laws. It was recently announced that PEGI ratings on in game purchases will apply to ‘loot boxes’.
PEGI (Pan European Gaming Information) is a game rating system used in 39 countries in the UK it’s overseen by the Video Standards Council – which is similar to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).