Victorian gambling commission: "What occurs with 'loot boxes' does constitute gambling"

Commission has limited options for enforcement, looks to work with other agencies to bring about change

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation is the latest government body to weigh in on the loot box debate.

Responding to a request from Reddit user Caesar, strategic analyst for the compliance department at the VCGLR, Jarrod Wolfe, said: "What occurs with 'loot boxes' does constitute gambling by the definition of the Victorian Legislation."

He later went on to add: "More importantly the normalisation of gambling vernacular and mechanics targeted at vulnerable persons (minors), is not just morally reprehensible, but is also legally questionable."

While the VCGLR agrees that regulation is required, it isn't in a position to wield any immediate power.

"Enforcement is probably not an option, but we can consider working with other agencies to bring about change in other ways," added Wolfe. "For instance; if these companies want to include significant elements of gambling in their products then perhaps we should work with The Australian Classification Board to ensure than any product that does that and monetises it gets an immediate R rating."

Earlier this week the Belgian Gambling Commission reportedly said it would like to ban loot boxes, and one Hawaiian state representative went so far as to brand Star Wars Battlefront II a "Star Wars themed online casino".

A very clear divide is now forming. When the debate erupted around Middle Earth: Shadow of War, PEGI, the ESRB, and the UK government were quick to claim that loot boxes do not constitute gambling. However, as the discussion as evolved, more and more organisations are siding with the idea that loot boxes are, in fact, gambling.

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