Are lootboxes gambling? Australian inquiry

Already happened in Belgium.

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But isn’t the point of how a RNG works.

This is like going to play a poker machine and saying OK I have already won 1 cents it can’t happen again so every spin should return a different value thus never giving you a duplicate amount twice, Hmmmm

The problem there is a very simple one as you only have 2 choices to fix it.

What does the fact that it stops you from getting duplicates?
So your telling me and everyone else here that in Belgium when you do 10 single summons that the system stops you from getting duplicates thus in an summons box that has for example 60 heroes in it, then all you would have to do in Belgium is 60 pulls and SG goes broke after that because you don’t need to do anymore summonses RIGHT!.because you already have every single hero RIGHT, LOL.

Oh wait your going to come back telling me that’s only for 10 and 30 pulls yea, Hmmm BUT unfortunately for that answer to be true then it would mean that each pull within a 10 pull lot for example wasn’t a singular individual pull which is the way these are sold to us as.

You see here my friend the difference with 10 single pulls sold as one package and a summons doing an instant single 10 pull summon (Note singular ) SUMMON is in a single summon the same number can’t be generated twice but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get duplicates either as the only way to avoid that is to asign actual hero cards and not numbers, Hmmmm

Video game loot boxes are “in violation of gambling legislation”, according to the Belgium Gaming Commission.

Loot boxes give random rewards and can be acquired either through gameplay or by spending real cash.

Those that can be bought for real money must now be removed from video games in Belgium.

So yes. There will be no loot box issues in Belgium.

Not exactly your … " solution." But a solution to loot boxes all the same.

Yessss… we all know how loot boxes work. The issue is with how loot boxes work. That’s what Australia is exploring. Given how loot boxes work, should they be legal in Australia? That’s what the OP is about.

If you want to say yes they should be legal, it would be interesting to see you cite things that aren’t directly refuted in the OP.

I would appreciate it if you could try to refrain from this type of statement. I don’t think it adds anything to the conversation. It seems much of your post falls within this:
Appeal to Ridicule is a type of logical fallacy. Logical fallacy is using false logic to try to make a claim or argument. Appeal to ridicule is a fallacy that attempts to make a claim look ridiculous by mocking it or exaggerating it in a negative way. Appeal to ridicule often uses sarcasm to make an argument look ridiculous.

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Yes OK that’s a different matter altogether. Of cause removing them (lootboxes) completely will solve this issue of randomness but this only means one thing in reality and that is that unless the game can generate new players it will only have a much shorter life span as spenders will only buy what they need when they need it and thus no more spending, not forgetting that each player will reach max goals/levels quicker and thus lose interest in the game once they run out of things to do or buy thus being in this case heros and ascersion items, so again a great loss in the long term of the company.

But hey! you will get exactly what you want when you want it right, so who cares if the company goes broke in 2 years and that all the money you did spend getting exactly what you wanted now is down the drain because you can’t even play the game anymore AND/OR that the game makers don’t have the money to update new features or fix bugs anymore because hey each player got exactly what they wanted when they wanted it and they have no reason to spend money anymore.

Then there is the other option for the company to stay afloat,lol
That is charge extremely excessively high prices for each item but then eventually the result will be the same only maybe 3years instead of 2 before they go broke.

Wow, WHERE does all that leave the F2P players, totally and utterly won’t exist anymore becuse there is no more chance of getting anything by CHANCE thus making it totally a P2W game.

DISCLAIMER! The word YOU here is used as a gerenal term only, meaning it is anyone and everyone but no one in particular. This goes all posts posted by me unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for tagging me in on this report, hopefully by the end of my own text-filled text-sandwich you won’t regret it but I’ve broken up my mind splurge into drop down hidden parts to spare those uninterested and can’t be bothered to skip over them.

Australian Senate Environment and Communications Committee Report, UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee report and E.S.A. being misleading

I’ve just about digested the vast majority of the report and it has been an interesting to read as the Entertainment Software Association cited Australia and essentially this report linked as one of a number of countries that disagreed with the conclusions of our Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary Committee (which is a cross-party committee of MPs) when they recently released a report essentially saying that the committee believing that loot boxes and similar game mechanics should be subject to the same regulations as gambling.

What was interesting to me is that from my reading of the Australian report it is wrong for the E.S.A. to be claiming that it contradicts the D.C.M.S. report and saying so is a gross mischaracterisation. The Australian report acknowledges that loot boxes did not meet the current legal definitions of gambling at state and federal levels (and as gambling laws vary from country to country this doesn’t mean it is true in other countries – more on that later) but one of the many purposes of parliamentary committees such as the one that compiled the report is to determine whether current laws are keeping up with emerging trends and developments and if not recommend reviews to look into whether those laws need changing. The Australian report also found that many loot boxes and games did meet all the psychological criteria for gambling and raised concerns about the use of predatory monetization schemes aimed at vulnerable users such as children in some games.

Indeed when you consider that the recommendation of the report is for the Australian Government is to: “Commission further research into the potential for gambling-related harms to be experienced as a result of interaction with loot boxes; identify any regulatory or policy gaps which may exist in Australia’s regulatory frameworks; examine the adequacy of the Classification Scheme as it relates to video games containing loot boxes; consider if existing consumer protection frameworks adequately address issues unique to loot boxes; and ensure that Australia’s approach to the issue is consistent with international counterparts.” I think it is a stretch to think that the senators compiling the report don’t in some way think the current legal and regulatory environment in Australia may need changing, really they’re passing on the buck here to the government as they’d rather the government took point on any possible changes that may be needed.

Gambling laws over here and Kinder Eggs

When I was growing up there was a game that I often saw at a number of school or village charity fetes in which on a table was the entire deck of cards laid out with various sweets on each card, most of the cards would have a penny sweet on them, a few had normal sized chocolate bars and then you might have one card with a kilogram bar of chocolate on it. Punters would then pay 10p to draw a card from a second deck and they would then have to find the matching card on the table and they would win whatever was on the card on the table. This game raised more money than most would expect as it was for charity, many people wanted to get rid of lose change got from other stalls, the hunt for the matching card, possibility of may be getting more than your money’s worth and the worst case scenario you’d always win a penny sweet (cards would have more sweets put on them as people won them) was quite enticing. Now based on how the Kinder Egg argument is brought up a lot I think many will be surprised to find that if I were to go into town today and set up a table to run the same game for profit I’d be arrested for breaking Gambling laws. This is because the game would be classed by our gambling legislation as a form of lottery and that whilst it was legal as an “Incidental Lottery” at an event provided it is raising money for charity only, what I’d be doing would be is illegal.

The definition of a lottery in my jurisdiction is that payment is required to enter, that one or more prizes are available and that those prizes are allocated by chance. There is nothing stating that it is no longer a lottery if everyone receives a prize of some form and it is for that reason the card-sweet game I mentioned earlier (essentially a form of everyone wins something tombola is classed as a type of gambling as the prizes of varying value are randomly allocated. The fact everyone wins something is irrelevant.

So does that mean the Kinder Eggs or trading cards are illegal where I am? No for a variety of reasons. Firstly the Gambling Commission considers a “prize” to be something of monetary value, it is on this point that the Gambling Commission currently exempts loot boxes arguing the in-game content has no monetary value (which the DCMS report has since questioned) and it is for this reason Kinder
Surprise toys are not considered “prizes” in a gambling sense. Though even if they were they would qualify as a form of Product Promotion (that comes with other requirements).

As a side point even if the Gambling Commission changed its mind and said in-game items had monetary value a game like Empires and Puzzles would remain exempt as it includes a Free Draw element with its Hero, Challenge and Atlantis tokens would qualify it as a free draw provided the chances of getting each hero remains the same whether pulling with free tokens or gems. Being able to have a chance at getting the same prize at equal or better odds with a free method over a pay to participate method would make it exempt.

However my suspicion is that given the focus given by a number of these reviews on the psychology of the mechanics, effects on vulnerable users and some of the aggressive practices that there is the possibility regulation may go further when it comes. (Indeed some of the aggressive monetisation schemes touched on by the Australian report could questionably breach some of our own consumer protection laws but anyway I’ve no idea if they’ve been examined from that perspective over here).

But when it does I fully expect most companies relying on that model will most likely just remove their games from those jurisdictions rather than change it completely and lose out on the money elsewhere. It will take something like regulation from something like the EU parliament to change things materially as it is too big of a market to ignore (and if you do a rival company could capitalise on the gap you’ve left there) and represents enough countries to start shape a global trend – it is notable that one of the reasons of hesitance in the Australian report was not much consensus globally on the issue showing that what other countries do plays a role in the deliberative process for things like this and a multi-national block like the EU doing it is likely to influence other countries making a similar judgement.

Subscription based game services

That all being said I think that there is also a very good chance that whilst regulation will come it will come at about the time that people start turning away from this micro-transaction model anyway. The micro-transaction model has seemed for awhile to be the ‘yellow-journalism’ of the gaming industry in that it ruthlessly exploits psychology in ways that work great for the companies but are hated by the players. Subscriptions allowed newspapers for a long time to put the worst of those practices away when they had the security of guaranteed revenue streams until the internet came along and freely available news websites undermined it and we got our second great age of yellow-journalism with click-bait galore and everything else.

As such I think the likes of Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade in which you subscribe to have access to loads of games and apps without micro-transactions will likely have a more transformative effect on the games market than regulation. People are already used to subscribing to media services like Netflix for TV and films that having essentially a Netflix for mobile games is not entirely an alien concept and any sensible player must realise that for developers to continue working on games they enjoy they need revenue and that if they were doing some other leisure activity instead like going bowling they’d similarly have to pay as well that makes a subscription at a reasonable rate to a bunch of games with a fair and level playing field so much more preferable to the worst the micro-transaction model has to give.

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Also credit to @Scarecrow who has shown in video using 4* to beat legendary in events!

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@MysterySpin

That was very informative and insightful… can I ask what country you are in? I now want to learn even more about gambling laws. Thank you for taking the time to write all of that up.

I don’t think I have anything in particular to reply to from your post. Parts of it kind of surprising (what is and isn’t considered gambling), but most all of it informative (impression on WHY things are as they are, as well as mechanisms that are inhibiting change, and pathways to change.)

Sincere thank you for that post.

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I have removed it but it wasn’t meant in any degrading form what so ever and there was nothing personal about it.

Cheers

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This is Supply and demand. If it costs too much no one will play. Developers can’t price everyone out of their games and succeed.

There is plenty of money in video games. If loot boxes go out the window then gamers will be left to choose from the best of the rest. Given the gamers financial capability to spend, theyll choose the best of the games they can access and compete at financially. So the games that do well producing income would have high quality game play and lower cost to play.

Have you ever played Diablo1/2? Because… they didn’t have loot boxes. And people played them a lot longer than people play E&P. And yes diablo 2 is a paid game, but if loot boxes are gone then maybe game demos become more common. Or subscriptions with trials. There are options.

Keeping a bad option in place is fine if there really isn’t a better option. I respectfully disagree with you that there is not a better option than loot boxes. I’ve seen it in my lifetime.

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As @Duaneski said, well done and great post. This is precisely why I tagged you :wink:

So I suppose we should be targeting the middlemen then as they seem to have more pull over the legislature

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There is no false logic or ridicule as you call it in using possible senario’s within a situation except to those that can’t argue those possibilities ever occurring or being a probable possibility.

In no way was anything I said related or targetted to yourself as a person and all my comments where based on the OP topic and remarks made from that by others.

Now I myself may not like lootboxes personally as an individual but I am a businessman first and foremost (unfortunately some who know me might say).

I don’t disagree that thier can’t be a better option but I do disagree that removing them out of the game altogether is an option.

I also disagree that spenders should be allowed to blame a game mechanics for their own total lack of self control, we all may as well start up a thread in the lottery forum (if there is one) about how unfair it is one spends example 20 to 50 bucks plus a week because they get nothing in return, and what then (casinos) .

So yea we both agree their could be better options and we obviously both agree we don’t like lootboxes but when it comes to removing them completely I guess we both just have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Cheers

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Classic 4*, not any 4* :innocent:

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gentle reminder to keep things civil…great job so far! :+1:

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That’s like saying spin the wheel for $10 to win $100.

“Sorry” but you won a tissue.

Would you like to gamble again… ehem ehem
I mean,… would you like to entertain yourself with our surprise mechanics.

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At which point the sane person says “no thank you.” They don’t curse the tissue dispenser. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :wink:

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Or possibly it may drive innovation into a different path where devs would seek alternative means of revenue generations and also keep the game in perpetual progress.

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Yes, also a 100% probability.

Question for @Duaneski.

Now I am not sure if you guys there still have lootboxes atm on E&P or not and like in America for online gambling those who really want it will use VPN’s anyway, my question is based on if you do still have lootboxes atm.

I have spent the last hour or more reading the new Belgium gaming laws where I found this comment

Would this mean based on the new law that lootboxes are considered gambling that by knowing E&P is not a registered gambling establishment that those in Belgium playing this game are ALSO in violation of the gaming commissions new laws.

Or participate in them!

Just curious.

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What this does is opens a loop hole for predators.

Giving an opportunity to win something of value, stack all the odds & conditions against the player, tell them everyones a winner, give them micro cosmic odds close to ZERO chance of winning, then present them with a completely useless prize, & declare that this is not GAMBLING.

“CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE WON SOME [manure]”

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN AGAIN?”


[Edited by Rook. Please follow Forum Rules.]

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Actually it says everyone wins a hero and that the chances of you getting the ACTUAL hero you want is EXTREMELY low. Odds on these have been displayed time and time again.

I do not remember EVER reading anywhere or anyone saying that you will get the hero of your choice. I also don’t remember reading anywhere where it says if you spend for example 500$ that you will be guaranteed a 5* hero or HOTM but I do remember reading tons of threads stating that NO amount of money spent will or can guarantee you a 5* or HOTM but what it does do is increase your chances at getting one, which basically means “the more pulls you do the more likely you might get lucky and get one”.

So yes everyone is a winner in the sense that they DO get a hero on every single pull.

NOW this is what everyone should be targeting as an arguement of lootboxes because I would bet that if lootboxes had better odds at getting something decent these IT’S NO DIFFERENT TO GAMBLING issues wouldn’t even come up and everyone would be on their merry way.

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I suppose that is one definition of gambling isn’t it?

Money paid for an uncertain outcome or an extremely low chance of receiving anything of value in circumstances where the spending behaviour is particularly addictive due to some enticement perhaps

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