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British Gambling Commission concerned with "increasingly blurred" lines between games and gambling

Meanwhile, French politician calls for “prompt and sincere self-regulation" of the industry

The British Gambling Commission has weighed into the loot box debate.

In an official statement executive director Tim Miller laid out the commission's stance. As it only enforces the laws set by parliament, the commission cannot declare loot boxes gambling under the current definition.

However, Miller noted that parents are typically less concerned with the strict definition of gambling, and more if loot boxes present a risk to their children.

"We are concerned with the growth in examples where the line between video gaming and gambling is becoming increasingly blurred," he said. "Where it does meet the definition of gambling it is our job to ensure that children are protected and we have lots of rules in place, like age verification requirements, to do that.

"Where a product does not meet that test to be classed as gambling but could potentially cause harm to children, parents will undoubtedly expect proper protections to be put in place by those that create, sell and regulate those products.

"We have a long track record in keeping children safe and we are keen to share our experiences and expertise with others that have a similar responsibility. Whether gambling or not, we all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe."

Also diving into the debate was French senator Jérôme Durain who expressed his concerns in a letter to President Macron, saying that loot boxes "require special attention from the public authorities."

In the letter, translated by Reddit user Artfunkel, Durain said that while cosmetic additions to games via loot boxes seem "well-accepted by the public," he specifically cited Star Wars Battlefront II for its "contentious" pay-to-win practices.

"Many players and specialised observers question the deleterious effects of the spread of these microtransactions in the world of video games," he said.

Although concerned, Durain did not call for specific legislation and questioned the desirability of providing consumer protection in the area.

"Prompt and sincere self-regulation of the sector would be reassuring news at a time when some players predict the imminent arrival of esports betting," he said. "I am convinced that collective reflection will enable us to find a satisfactory answer to this new problem."

The British Gambling Commission and senator Durain are the latest in an increasingly long list of government bodies and politicians to contribute to the loot box debate. Just last week the Belgian minister of justice said he would like to see action taken, and a Hawaiian state Representative described Star Wars Battlefront II as a "Star Wars themed online casino."

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Ivy Taylor avatar
Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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