While the United States jumped into the loot box foray last year, its only represented state was Hawaii thanks to representative, Chris Lee. It seems that Washington is now getting in on the action, as senator Kevin Ranker has introduced a bill to determine the connection between loot boxes and gambling, and how the practice can be regulated if need be.
The first step of the newly introduced bill is to determine whether or not loot boxes constitute as gambling. Discussions are still ongoing in other countries, but New Zealand and the United Kingdom have stated that by current laws in the respective countries, loot boxes don’t fall into the same category as gambling. If the US follows the same verdict, then nothing more will be said about the matter.
“What the bill says is, ‘Industry, state: sit down to figure out the best way to regulate this,’” Ranker explains to the News Tribune. “It is unacceptable to be targeting our children with predatory gambling masked in a game with dancing bunnies or something.”
Hawaii representative, Chris Lee has already voiced his concerns on what he deems “predatory practices,” as well as laying out plans to tackle loot boxes once and for all. Belgium seems to still be investigating the matter, having yet to release an official declaration despite Minister of Justice Koen Geens stating that it “is dangerous for the mental health of the child” and calling for a ban.
Interestingly, the UK's Gambling Commission has some thoughts on how to help the situation by shifting the conversation away from the controversy in relation to gambling entirely and more about the inherent problems that do exist with the implementation of loot boxes.
KitGuru Says: It will be interesting to see if Washington state can come up with an alternative answer than brushing it off their shoulders. Many gamers fear regulation as it might cause unwanted side-effects, whereas other simply want a discussion on how they are implemented in video games as it is past the fine line of what is right and wrong. How do you feel about loot boxes? Do you think they are the same as gambling?