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Is Gaming with Loot Boxes Considered Gambling?

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If you’ve played Call of Duty, Halo 5, League of Legends, FIFA, and Battlefield before, then you’re probably familiar with what loot boxes are. These are boxes or crates that you open to get better equipment, skills, or skins on whatever game it is that you play.

Sure, you just really open these loot boxes and wait for the prize, but why are people thinking that this is gambling? This is because these crates come with a price. You need to buy crates and loot boxes to win something. The catch is that it isn’t guaranteed that you’ll get the prize you’re hoping for.

Basically, opening crates is not that much different from playing slot machine games that you can play on casino sites like Bet9ja. You’re spending money on something that you’re not sure you’ll get. It’s just really a new and maybe even wholesome way to gamble.

These loot boxes are on games that you can play on your computer, gaming consoles, and even your mobile device. Mobile games like Call of Duty Mobile has these loot boxes and crates that are given free and can be purchased by the players.

The thing about these crates is that they can be very expensive. A player can spend as much as 10 bucks to get at least 1000 Call of Duty Points or CPs. These points are the currency of the world of Call of Duty. You can spend these on Call of Duty Mobile or even on Call of Duty Modern Warfare that is playable on your computer or gaming consoles like PlayStation 4. 

You may think that 1000 CP would already get you a lot of items from the crates that you purchased but, not really. 1000 CP on Call of Duty Mobile could only give you around 10 crates to open. This depends on what type of crate you’d like to purchase. There are times that the crates that you get won’t give you anything valuable. Usually, these items or skins that you get won’t even change your gameplay. It doesn’t make your character or gun stronger. Still, it’s rewarding for the players to get these items.

This is why it’s becoming quite an issue in the online gaming industry. Loot boxes or crates are still not officially categorized as gambling in many countries. This makes it easy for people of all ages to have access to this kind of gambling. Even minors are given permission to buy crates because again, it’s still not officially gambling.

The existence of loot boxes can be traced to as early as 2004. It wasn’t really opening loot boxes during this time. It was more of a ticketing system. This was introduced in the game MapleStory and it was called Gachapon Ticket. Back then, a ticket would cost around 100 yen.

Since then, many other games were developed with this system. Many only saw this as a way to make gameplay more exciting and fulfilling, but right now, many countries are now treating this ticketing or loot-box system differently.

Arguments on whether the opening of these crates is a form of gambling is still on-going. It could be gambling if players are buying these crates with real money. It could not be gambling if these crates were obtained as a reward or for free.

Is it legal? A straight answer is yes, it is in most countries. However, it’s likely that there will be restrictions placed on this in the near future. It’s becoming quite a concern of many gamers and even parents these days.

In Europe, Belgium has already banned loot boxes in April 2018. They examined four games and found that opening loot boxes are really gambling. Meanwhile, the Netherlands and Sweden are still looking into the matter.  Australia is doing the same thing, but they are still saying that opening loot boxes still do not fall under their laws concerning online gambling.

In 2018, countries like Austria, France, the United States, Ireland, Norway, Poland, and Spain have all agreed to look into the role of loot boxes or crates in online gambling. So far, it’s only Poland that has issues a statement that purchasing and opening loot boxes are not gambling.

Overall, it’s still unlikely that loot boxes will be banned in many more countries in the near future. What’s possible is that it will be regulated instead. Children will be most likely restricted from purchasing loot boxes. However, it is mostly fine if they get this for free or as a reward for achieving something in the games that they play.