Regulators unite to tackle video game skins and loot boxes

Global gambling regulators have joined forces in an attempt to address concerns over the “blurred lines between gambling and video games”.

Also stressing issues regarding skins and loot boxes in such titles, fifteen gambling regulators from across Europe, in addition to the Washington State Gambling Commission, have signed an agreement to address the risks.

A pledge to tackle “unlicensed third-party websites offering illegal gambling linked to popular video games” has been stressed as a priority, with all parties involved also calling for the video games industry, and technology platforms, to play their part in helping crack down such sites

Furthermore, it was also highlighted that games providers must also ensure that features within games, such as loot boxes, do not constitute gambling under national laws

In a statement published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), supported by each party involved, it was detailed that: “We commit ourselves today to working together to thoroughly analyse the characteristics of video games and social gaming.

“This common action will enable an informed dialogue with the video games and social gaming industries to ensure the appropriate and efficient implementation of our national laws and regulations.

“Each gambling regulator will of course reserve the right to use instruments of enforcement given by its national gambling regulatory framework. We will also work closely with our consumer protection enforcement authorities.”

Neil McArthur, Chief Executive and signatory for the Gambling Commission on the declaration, added: “We have joined forces to call on video games companies to address the clear public concern around the risks gambling and some video games can pose to children.

“We encourage video games companies to work with their gambling regulators and take action now to address those concerns to make sure that consumers, and particularly children, are protected.

“We want parents to be aware of the risks and to talk to their children about how to stay safe online. For example, unlicensed websites offering skins betting can pop up at any time and children could be gambling with money intended for computer game products.”

Other signatories on the declaration are:

  • Signe Birne, Director of Lotteries and Gambling Supervisory Inspection of Latvia
  • Karel Blaha, Director of the State Oversight Over Gambling Department, Czech Republic
  • Steve Brennan, Chief Executive, Gambling Supervision Commission, Isle of Man
  • Charles Coppolani, Chair of the French Online Gaming Regulatory Authority
  • Juan Espinosa García, CEO, Directorate General for Gambling Regulation, Spain
  • Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Executive Officer, Malta Gaming Authority
  • Jason Lane, Chief Executive, Jersey Gambling Commission
  • Andrew Lyman, Executive Director, Gambling Division, HM Government of Gibraltar
  • Brendan Mac Namara, Principal Officer, Gambling Policy Division, Department of Justice and Equality of Ireland
  • Teresa Monteiro, Vice-President of Turismo de Portugal, I.P
  • Henrik Nordal, Director Deputy General, Norwegian Gaming Authority
  • Jan Suyver, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Netherlands Gambling Authority
  • Paweł Gruza, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, Poland
  • Alfred Hacker, Director, Federal Ministry of Finance, Austria
  • David Trujillo, Director, Washington State Gambling Commission

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