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German Youth Protection Commission investigates loot boxes

It's "conceivable" that loot boxes violate existing regulation, says commission chairman

The German Youth Protection Commission has stated it is now considering a ban on loot boxes, following a study conducted by the University of Hamburg.

As reported by German newspaper Welt, the study found that more and more games contain elements of gambling.

Researchers analysed business models and industry sales, concluding that a small proportion of players are responsible for the majority of the revenue, noting this is "a typical feature of gambling markets."

Wolfgang Kreißig, chairman of the Youth Protection Commission, said it was "conceivable" that loot boxes violate existing regulation in place to protect children and adolescents.

Publishers could also face a blanket ban on releasing games that feature loot boxes. A decision is due in March this year.

The list of government authorities and politicians weighing-in on the loot box issue continues to grow.

In Europe, the Belgian authorities have alluded to an interest in banning loot boxes and are conducting an investigation alongside the Netherlands. Furthermore, the British Gambling Commission has expressed concern over the "increasingly blurred lines" between games and gambling.

Meanwhile, in the US, Washington state senator Kevin Ranker recently announced plans to introduce a bill on the matter. Additionally, a state representatives from Hawaii has said the games industry must self-regulate, describing legislation as a "slippery slope".

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