Government to call for evidence on the regulation of “loot boxes” under the Gambling Act

The DCMS Select Committee’s immersive and addictive technologies inquiry investigated how games companies operate across a range of social media platforms and other technologies.

The Committee’s report called upon games companies to “accept responsibility for addictive gaming disorders”, as well as, “protect their players from potential harms due to excessive play-time and spending”. Among other things the report called for the regulation of “loot boxes” under the Gambling Act and their sale to children to be banned. See our earlier post here.

In response, the Government said that it will be launching a call for evidence into the impact of loot boxes on in-game spending and gambling-like behaviour later this year. This will examine, for example, the size and variation of the market, the design of mechanisms, the context in terms of other types of in-game spending, the impact on consumers and particularly young people including links to problem gambling, and the effectiveness of the current statutory and voluntary regulation. In addition to a written call for evidence, the Government envisages also holding a series of roundtables to discuss issues and solutions in detail, including the most effective approaches to protect users from any harms identified.

Full details of the call for evidence and how to respond will be announced in due course. The results from the call for evidence will be considered alongside the Government’s review of the Gambling Act 2005. The Government said that it stands ready to take action should the outcomes of the call for evidence support taking a new approach to ensure users, and particularly young people, are protected.

To read the Government response in full, click here.