European regulators decide against restricting loot boxes

Members of the Gaming Regulators’ European Forum (GREF) have confirmed the completion of a year-long study into the effects of microtransactions in video games, which has included the use of ‘loot boxes’. 

The members of the Forum, which includes gambling regulators from 19 countries, have chosen not to implement measures which would restrict such features, despite receiving specific recommendations to do so. 

The findings of the study have been included in a report, published by the French regulator Arjel today. The report found that GREF members felt as though implementing gambling regulations on such features would depend heavily on the definition of gambling in each jurisdiction.

The report explained: “It is recognised that whether these activities ultimately trigger the implementation of gambling regulation, would depend on each national gambling definition.

“[GREF members] highlight the need for involvement of national authorities responsible for consumer protection, health, education as well as digital and financial regulation,” the report added. “Consumer protection associations are encouraged to make recommendations in this direction: for example, the communication before the purchase of the loot-box content and the probabilities of obtaining a particular virtual item.”

“Regarding minors, [GREF members highlight] awareness of parents, including the incentive for use of parental control in a systematic way; as well as the need to maintain a frank and productive dialogue with sector organisations to agree on more protective solutions, particularly amongst young people,” the report said.

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