Following the announcement that Germany’s Youth Protection Commission is considering an outright ban on loot boxes, Sweden will potentially be classifying the practice as gambling by early 2019. The shift in categorisation would mean that any game to include loot boxes would be subject to much harsher regulations under Swedish law.
Sweden’s Minister for Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi revealed the plans-in-progress to P3 News, stating that the country is “working to regain control of the gambling market as soon as possible, and to make sure that Swedish consumer protection laws apply to all actors which conduct gambling activities.”
The decision isn’t finalised, with an investigation currently underway to determine whether or not a change in legislation is required. As it stands, loot boxes are currently unregulated in the country, but Shekarabi has said that he doesn’t “want to rule out the possibility” of the classification considering “many people suffer from gambling addiction, who also get stuck in this type of gambling and lose money on it.”
This isn’t a surprising opinion as stories regularly crop up surrounding those that spend copious amounts on the randomised process simply to gain an item, as well as children that manage to abuse their parent’s wallets in order to spend it on the continuous source of revenue without realising the implications.
Another P3 News story [Google translated] describes just this, as Oscar Hansson details his addiction with FIFA Ultimate team leading him to spend approximately 20-30,000 kr ($2500-$3700) before forcibly having his debit card removed as a preventative measure.
It’s a fine line to decide what is the responsibility of the developer, the governing body and the individual in terms of what an adult does with their own money, however exploitative practices and, in particular, ones that can affect children are the centre of this investigation.
KitGuru Says: It’s difficult to form an opinion from a standpoint of never having suffered from a serious addiction or dependency, but as more people detail their bad experiences with the practice, the more inclined I am to believe it can truly be exploitative. How do you feel about loot boxes? Should they be classified as gambling?