Ireland Stands Behind Loot Boxes

Tia Winter | 04 October 2018

The highly controversial video games loot box issue continues to attract divided opinions from governments across the globe as countries try to reach a decision as to whether they constitute gambling, or not. Loot boxes allow players to buy in-game bundles of which the content isn’t disclosed beforehand. The boxes are given out as being surprise upgrades, but many countries are calling them out as being the act of paying for a chance to win something, i.e. games of chance.

Countries are very much divided on the issue. Belgium is of the opinion that they do constitute gambling, whilst France has taken a more liberal stance by saying that they do not. Interestingly enough, Australia has sided with camp Belgium, whilst New Zealand holds the opinion that they are just another building block of a typical video game.

Not Considered A Major Issue

Not surprising, being typically liberal of heart, Ireland has said that it too, believes that loot boxes are actually quite innocent and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. Irish Justice David Stanton recently addressed the Seanad Éireann (the Irish parliament’s upper house) and said that whilst his word on the matter does not constitute a legal effect, it is in fact based on the provisions of the law.

Stanton elaborated on his point of view by saying that according to law, whenever a game offers the opportunity of taking a financial risk in order to secure a possible financial gain that would constitute gambling. Loot boxes, according to Stanton, do not present this particular scenario.

Consumerism At the Core

Stanton said that according to his understanding of the law, loot boxes actually fall into the category and definition of normal consumer law. They typically contain items that will enhance the scope of a player’s game by providing avenues towards certain upgrades.

Many countries are bemoaning the fact that this actually constitutes gambling as the boxes are being paid for and mainly because players do not know what the contents of the boxes are before having paid for them. The core of the controversy is the fact that children as well as adults have access to video games, making it a morally contentious issue.


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