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Gambling: Video Games

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN HL11928, tabled on 29 November 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) Belgium's decision to ban loot boxes in online games, and (2) the social impact adopting a similar policy would have on reducing gambling related harm in the UK.

Answered on

10 December 2018

Loot boxes do not fall under gambling law where the in-game items acquired are confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out. However, the Government is aware of concerns that entertainment products, such as some video games, could encourage gambling-like behaviour, and will continue to look closely at any evidence around this issue.

We welcome the recent introduction by the VSC Ratings Board and PEGI of a new label for video games to warn parents where they include the opportunity to make in-game purchases.

The Gambling Commission, as the regulator for gambling in Great Britain, has strong powers and can take action where it needs to address emerging risks.

In September 2018, the Gambling Commission published a declaration signed by 16 gambling regulators, which outlined common concerns around gaming and gambling. The regulators agreed to work together to monitor the characteristics of video games and social gaming and where there is potential cross-over into gambling.