The video game monetisation method of loot boxes will not be banned in the UK, despite a government consultation claiming evidence of an association between the features and problem gambling.
Loot boxes have attracted comparison with gambling because
they allow players to spend money to unlock in-game rewards, such as special characters, weapons or outfits, without knowing exactly what they will get.
The features, popular in games such as Call of Duty and the Fifa football series, were
effectively banned in Belgium in 2018, but the censorship culture minister, Nadine Dorries, said the UK would not follow suit.
Instead, after a 22-month consultation, she said the government would discuss tougher industry-led protections with the
UK's gaming trade. Dorries explained the decision saying that
While the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) stopped short of proposing legislation, Dorries said:
Legislating to impose curbs or a prohibition on loot boxes as part of an expected overhaul of the UK's gambling laws could have unintended consequences.
For example, legislation to introduce an outright ban on children purchasing loot boxes could have the unintended effect of more children using adult accounts, and thus having more limited parental oversight of their play and
spending, the government said, in a response to the consultation published in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Children and young people should not be able to purchase loot boxes without parental approval.