The potential that video game loot boxes are a form of gambling that should be regulated and licensed has emerged in Holland. Members of the Dutch Gambling Authority (DGA) have reviewed 10 popular (but unnamed) video games to determine whether or not their techniques for distributing loot boxes are in violation of Dutch gaming laws and whether or not the video game makers should be applying for gambling licenses.
To find out exactly what is happening with the games in question, the DGA commissioned a study to find out exactly where the games stepped over the line between chance and skill. According to the report, as reported on by PCGamer.com:
The study revealed that four of the ten loot boxes that were studied contravene the law. The reason is that the content of these loot boxes is determined by chance and that the prizes to be won can be traded outside of the game: the prizes have a market value. Offering these types of games of chance to Dutch consumers without a license is prohibited.
So what happens next? The DGA is suggesting that the four game makers behind the games must get a Dutch gaming license. The problem here is that the DGA offers no such license for video game makers. In an odd turn of doublespeak, the DGA acknowledges this conundrum by simply saying that the loot boxes offered in the four questionable games are prohibited under Dutch law.
This story offers an excellent illustration of how video game technology has surged far ahead of existing regulations and the challenges regulators are having with keeping up with them.