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Update: Swedish gambling legislation review unlikely to impact loot boxes

Any review of gambling legislation will not necessarily include an investigation into loot boxes, says Swedish Games Industry spokesman

Update: Following the news that loot boxes could be included in the ongoing gambling legislation review in Sweden, Per Strömbäck, Swedish Games Industry spokesman has provided further clarification on the issue.

The current legislation review has been brought about by the advent of online casinos and overseas gambling which has interfered with the state's monopoly on lotteries.

According to Strömbäck, loot boxes would only be affected by the review were the government to change the definition of lotteries.

"This is the fourth of fifth attempt to reform this system and introduce a licence system, and that is what this minister has brought forward," Strömbäck told GamesIndustry.biz.

Speaking on Swedish public radio, the minister of civil affairs Ardalan Shekarabi said that he did not exclude the possibility of legislation impacting loot boxes.

In reference to the minister's comment, Strömbäck said: "I think that's a very defensive answer from a policy maker, it's very non-committal and I think it's a stretch."

He added that the inclusion of loot boxes in the gambling legislation is secondary and not an initiative by the legislator or policy maker. Currently there is no policy proposal and any review of gambling legislation will not necessarily include an investigation into loot boxes.

"It is difficult but not unthinkable to make additions, but the government has already made its policy proposal. There is an opportunity for parliament to make amendments and that's maybe somewhere the conversation about loot boxes and lotteries could be introduced."

Original story: Sweden is the latest country to weigh in on the unfolding loot box debacle after the minister of civil affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, suggested the mechanic could be banned by 2019.

As reported by P3 News (via Google Translate), the Swedish government is working on a review of gaming legislation in the national gaming market, with any new legislation coming into force by January 2019.

Under current law, in-game lotteries are not covered by Swedish legislation, but this could change in future.

"We are working to regain control of the gaming market as soon as possible and ensure that Swedish consumer protection rules apply to all actors involved in gaming," Shekarabi told P3 News.

"I am ready to ask our authorities to take a closer look at the phenomenon of loot boxes in the next step and see if there is a need to change legislation in order to strengthen consumer protection."

Earlier this week, the German Youth Protection Commission announced that it was also investigating loot boxes following a study from the University of Hamburg which found an increasing number of games featured "elements of gambling".

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Latest comments (1)

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 8 months ago
The threshold where lootboxes require to be equal to something regulated has passed. Now is the time where similarity to something frowned upon, or regulated is enough.

Ironically, the EU is trying to get a ban on geo-blocking out the door, so there goeas one solution already.
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