Are lootboxes gambling? Australian inquiry

If you have not seen it already, this is a fascinating document/discussion on whether lootboxes constitute gambling.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Gamingmicro-transactions/Report

Snippet from Page 20.

Suprise%20and%20delight

From page 22/23

@Duaneski
@mysteryspin
@Rigs
@TGW
@zephyr1
@ModernThinker
@Gryphonknight
@littleKAF
@Rook
@SirGorash

Some of these arguments make my blood boil. There are surely a lot of lobbiers for these big game industries out there!

I am pretty sure I have seen the Kinder surprise argument somewhere on this forum.

The document also sets out a useful chronology on how we graduated from stand alone games to Expansion packs to DLCs to Micros

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Types of lootboxes - @SirGorash

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I’ve made the kinder surprise argument but not in any positive way. I think a few people would recognise my wailing and gnashing of teeth over kinder surprise and more importantly Lego minifig bags being scummy practice.

Neither are indulged in this household. My poor children :crying_cat_face:

Edit: FWIW my son no longer even asks for the kinder surprise eggs because after getting a few with extremely lame contents he’s decided there are better things to get on Saturdays. But it’s a regular discussion, why we don’t buy the Lego minifigs even though he’s had a few disappointing ones of those as well. Hope dies fast for crummy chocolate, but it lingers with Lego…

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It’s interesting though, when it comes to the analogy of trading card games.

My local game store has active participation in card games, selling various types and having the play area. But as far as I’m aware there is also a very active trading and second-hand card market.

So if you buy a booster of cards you might get a lot of junk, but you’d also be able to look through boxes and folders to pick and purchase specific cards (which can be a lot of fun, honestly). That is something we miss here, the community of trading and bartering.

I know it’s mentioned in some of those docs with respect to reselling items online, and there has certainly been a lot of concern about certain online markets, and harmful behaviors in gambling on skins and whatnot.

Edit: the second-hand market can be so good, and we’re lucky in that we have a store just down the road that stocks comics. Son has realised that for the same price as a brand new 'zine, he can get a stack of old marvel comics (or other superhero/donald duck/bamse, whatever floats his boat on the day) and he’s definitely cluing himself in to relative value for his money :slight_smile:

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It’s an interesting article @FrenziedEye

But these kind of topics from my experience always go toxic and just end up being a trash bash on E&P by a bunch of people that still contintue to practice hypocrisy by playing the game and using the forum but preach how terrible the game is and how much they hate it

So I’m simply removing myself from these types of convos and topics

Responded to your tag, but i don’t feel like starting my week with such a topic

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Don’t worry, let’s see how we go. I’m looking forward to anyone who wants to have a go :joy:

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https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-04-25-now-belgium-declares-loot-boxes-gambling-and-therefore-illegal

Loot boxes are declared as gambling is some European countries already…

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Australia is slow on the uptake

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Glad I am at home alone because that made me laugh Out Loud for real haha

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Ok, I’ll have a go but only cuz I lol’d so hard at the surprise adoption meme :rofl: :rofl:

A few years ago I watched a documentary about pachinko, a pinball/slot machine type of game. Highly addictive. In that ‘game’ people buy many iron balls they insert in a machine that makes lots of flashing lights and noises. After the noises are over, the player ‘wins’, and some iron balls drop in a box.

Pachinko is like a slot machine but doesn’t count as gambling (gambling is illegal in Japan) cuz the player always gets something in return, a lot of iron balls that can be exchanged for worthless prizes at the same pachinko store: Chocolate bars, candy, teddy bears, cheap electronic devices and stuff.

Documentary shows how an addicted pachinko player buys these iron balls with real money, how he keeps playing cuz he’s under the illusion that he’s winning. Except he’s not. The ammount of iron balls he gets back is always less than what he puts in the machine. Iron balls can be exchanged for prizes at the store, and those prizes can be resold for money at a different store near the pachinko parlor (yeah, that’s not illegal…). One would think he’s not losing any money, but truth is he only gets back a third of the money he spends in the machine. It’s a legal scam. A scam that makes trillions of yens every year.

I’m not surprised Japan came up with these type of scams called pachinko and gacha. That country has a long history of gambling problems. And I’m not surprised politicians elsewhere twist the laws to make lootboxes look somehow legal. It’s a scam that makes millions too. And It’s marketing 101. Branding something dangerous as inoffensive is what every shady business do. ‘Surprise and delight’, lmao that’s a ■■■■■■ argument if I’ve ever seen one :rofl:

I’ve seen people using the kinder argument here in the forums. ‘You got 30 vanilla 3*, why are you even complaining, at least you got something back!’. Yup, people spends money in the game and gets back useless heroes, like in a pachinko game. They lose money but it’s somehow ok because they support the gambling parlor… err mobile game, right? No, I find the kinder argument very hypocritical. It’s not even an argument, it’s just a gambling fallacy.

Even if I didn’t like the game I don’t see why it’s hypocritical to criticize it. Truth is, I like E&P a lot, it’s the first mobile game I played for months.

I don’t come to the forums to troll people or criticize their spending habits. People can do whatever they want with their hard earned money. They’re adults and they earned it. I can’t and wont stop criticizing lootboxes though. I just wanna point out that criticizing a game someone loves =/= criticizing the person who loves the game. People should see that distinction.

Also, there are many games that don’t resort to these shady gacha practices and earn money from their fanbase in a honest way, so I honestly hope lootboxes becomes illegal everywhere. It’s gambling. Period.

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To me, the most important thing is that in TCG’s, you are GUARANTEED one top-rarity card. In Magic the Gathering, for instance, every pack contains at least one Rare/Mythic Rare card. It’s simply a question of whether you get a top-tier rare, or a lower grade one.

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And hopefully they have some kind of trade or re-sale value. Even if it’s not a lot.

But as @SirGorash says that whole “surprise and delight” argument… it’s special. Do we really call all the threads ranting about summons “surprise and delight”?

Magic, magic, magic, awoooooo, I got the magic in me... comment about magic card resale value

I haven’t played magic for 15+ years but I did nearly have a meltdown when person with good intentions replaced some of my cards with more valuable editions of the cards (blah blah special edition print) as a surprise… because they were “cooler”. Meanwhile I just wanted my cards with pretty art back. Good thing was being in pristine condition they were able to sell them back! And no one’s feelings were permanently hurt.

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Currently, top-tier rare cards in standard go for around $20-25 a pop. If the card happens to be good in modern, then it could be worth WAY more. I haven’t bought in months, but my girlfriend/wife doesn’t complain when I get MTG cards because they have residual value. My collection is worth thousands.

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There’s nothing there that’s new. There’s nothing there that a sensible person wouldn’t look at and immediately say “yeah. That makes sense.”

But I don’t imagine that’ll stop a whole crew of people coming in here and saying ‘it’s the individual’s responsibility’ and ‘gacha isn’t good but let’s not even remotely consider changing it or disparaging SG for profiting off of it.’

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The combination of a guaranteed Rare in every pack PLUS a secondary market 100% ensures that supply and demand for cards remains reasonable.

By comparison, SG has zero guaranteed rares AND zero secondary market.

If MTG is Gacha done right, then E&P is Gacha gone criminal.

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I do not care at all about arguments that odds are known, gacha, we can choose, etc. it is all dialetics. It is like sayn g people under a certain age cannot drink. Yet the market, ads, enticement is totally directed at then. So ok, supposedly one is protected by stating “ not allowed for underaged”. Bah, semantics. I see my 8 year old grandson sick wanting some box in his viseo game. I have seen plenty underaged E&P players. One can talk about law, but the Ethics are surely rotten

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The arguments:

  • always a prize (in-game content)
  • E&P has no secondary market, so no prize is worth less than what is paid (I.e., a 3* is still worth 300 gems). Caveat: all items are not tangible.
  • dismissal of “Surprise and Delight”

First off, these are my own personal opinions and do not reflect SG in any way. :wink:

I do think lootboxes are a form of gambling. That said, I grew up with the Lottery and gambling per se doesn’t bother me, so long as odds are posted and there is a recognition that some folks are addicted to gambling and shouldn’t play. Moving right along:

The first argument in your document is that “there is always a prize”. This is little consolation for those who want Lianna but get Isshtak instead. If I knew I was going to get Isshtak, would I play 2600 gems? :wink: I mean I have, and I still might, but the excitement is to get Lianna, or better Kingston.

The second item is true. I’m wanting a Lianna, but paying the rates for a Isshtak, so if I get an Isshtak, there should be no crying.

The whole “Surprise and Delight” argument is silly to me. Kinder toys are much smaller and much cheaper. I don’t play E&P for the surprise, I play hoping against hope that I’ll get the goodie. :grin:

That’s my take on the Australian paperwork anyway. Hope that helps.

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In my day job kinder egg capsules contain crack cocaine and are found during the ‘squat and cough’ stage of the strip search :thinking:

I’ll leave the parallels to your imagination.

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I completely agree lol and I can’t understand why the Aus govt thinks lootboxes should be ignored.

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