DGOJ calls for loot boxes to be reclassified as gambling products

Mikel Arana, Director-General of Spain’s DGOJ, has confirmed that the regulatory agency has advised the government to introduce changes to the ‘Gaming Law’ in order to reclassify ‘loot boxes as games of chance’.

The DGOJ’s leader urged Congress to support the initiative yesterday, stating that the government will launch a public consultation before the end of the year, aiming for new regulations to come into force by the second half of 2021.

Furthermore, Arana supported the directive to Spain’s joint commission on the ‘Study of Addiction Behaviours’, whilst further advising the ‘Responsible Gaming Advisory Council’ to support its review in amending the current law to establish loot boxes as gambling components. 

Mirroring European counterparts, the Spanish government aims to review its digital laws with regards to protecting minors by “limiting compulsive and impulsive transactions’. 

The DGOJ is reportedly seeking guarantees that loot box laws and gaming protections will be included in the next phase of federal gambling reforms sanctioned by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

The Government will draft the final text of the law during the consultation period, which aims to be published by mid-2021, focusing amendments on aligning responsible gambling standards and consumer safeguards across Spain’s 17 autonomous communities. 

Consumer laws and safeties related to loot boxes have become a prominent topic amongst EU member states due to the lack of transparent regulation governing in-game mechanics.

Last month, games publisher EA Sports confirmed that it would contest a €5 million penalty sanctioned by Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) which had judged its ‘FIFA games packs’ to be an illegal gambling component and ordered EA to remove the feature from its Dutch services.

Having lost an appeal within Hague courts, EA will likely contest its penalty at European level, for which the European Union’s Internal Market policy advisory has stated that all member states face ‘structural problems’ in relation to governing loot boxes and in-game prizes.

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