Are lootboxes gambling? Australian inquiry

I read it all and found it brilliant, seriously.

But i want to make a small correction: the little “I” that open the odds window (as you correctly stated, quite hide in a corner) is something pretty recent.

For more then a year (i guess 18 months or so) we had absolutely anything showing us our odds.

I’m gonna never forget it, as i was in that first crew more then 2 years ago asking for that and never get any response back.

Only when other games started to publish their odds (like popular football games) Small Giant started to show them too. (And i still think they did that only to prevent someone force them to do so. Something about laws must be changed in that timeframe)

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I thought @Gryphonknight did a post on it if I’m not mistaken or was it @Duaneski… Pretty sure someone put a post around that time about changes in laws re disclosure of odds

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I’ve read the lastest posts above and there are a couple of points I would like to address here as this has become a bit about minors/children.
Just a small update on this matter and reminder and the reason I am posting thus is because like most online services that people register to, the Terms Of Service also known as the T&C which can be found here

Has this little section in it which states, and I quote

This means that if in you OWN local state, town or country you are considered to be a MINOR whether or not you are over 13 yrs old or not thus meaning if your state laws says that an under 18yr old is considered a minor by it’s own laws then you are NOT allowed to play this game to begin with.

The biggest mistake everyone makes when registering anywhere is NOT reading terms and conditions first and parents should be teaching their kids to do the same.

So techically (and i haven’t read every single games TOS to know but I probably wouldn’t be far from being correct in saying that this would be in many of them) even if lootboxes where deemed a form of gambling, it isn’t their fault if parents don’t watch or pay attention to what type of games their kids are playing as this particular game is clearly create as an ADULTS only game.

We are 2 of a kind there m8 , lol, of over 45yrs.

Nothing personal here but I was under the impression that advertising other games on here was prohibited, Now I know your not advertising them but honestly your only a direct link to their download page short of doing just that,lol

Basic reply to the original OP question is;

They are only illegal if they are illegal in Finland as the terms of service state that all it’s content is subject to Finland laws only and that user’s of it’s product from within those who’s countries, states etc prohibit these types of in-game features are in violation if playing this game to begin with.

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Actually for clarity’s sake the purpose of this thread is to discuss and view opinions on

a) whether lootboxes should be defined as a form of gambling

b) whether lootboxes should be made illegal

c) and all the incidentals of discussing those including the impact of gambling on society including consenting adults and underage children

(by reference to the Australian inquiry)

The terms of service of this forum and existing law on this topic are of course relevant too, but the question is much wider than that

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100% but it’s clearly expanded from that to many other areas involving/including kids thus why it should be noted that this game and probably many others like it shouldn’t even have kids/minors playing it to begin with.

As for lootboxes laws to change world wide, every country would have to on par and they are clearly not atm so for this topic to have any meaning towards SG doing something about it other than (politely seaking) us (myself included) the posters giving opinions, it would need to be taken to or linked to a gaming commission forum connected to every country in the world. Otherwise this topic only just becomes a never ending discussion on a never ending issue going nowhere.

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You are correct BUT (a huge but actually) the level of automated and manual checks that we run on accounts to ensure that minors and gambling addicted people have no access to our online products is insane. We are even far ahead than Land Based casinos in terms of security checks and we are members of a global database that keeps such targets away from any online gambling service out there.

For some territories violating such security measures can cost us the license to operate in territories such as UK, and they will fine you anywhere between 1 - 10 million dollars even for a minor infraction or even if they determine you don’t have all their required processes in place. Now that you brought this up I realize it is insane that loot-box based games are not held to the same standards. Note that, even though I’ve never spent money in a casino (for obvious reasons), the amount of money I’ve put on EP gives me chicken skin (lol) and I don’t consider myself vulnerable in any way shape or form.

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Wow. I wish we had those in place for lootboxes too

This whole move by developers to start publishing their odds was forced by Apple changing the terms of their app store with developers being told to publish their odds or face being booted. (Link to an article about it: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2017/12/21/16805674/apple-loot-box-app-store-games-odds-probability-disclosure)

It’s because of that I became more familiar with the situation in my country regarding loot boxes and gambling laws as when it happened I asked PoGo support when they planned to publish their egg hatch rates to which they responded they didn’t view eggs as a loot box. Not sure what Apple’s opinion would have been if challenged on it but my enthusiasm didn’t extend far enough to take it up with them.

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Sorry, but that is too easy. I would agree if these companies did not take real money, but if you have an addictive element added to loss of income there MUST be regulations. Casinos are held to that standard so I don’t see how loot boxes get a pass on this, you cannot simply say you don’t allow minors and have absolutely no way to enforce it nor be without monitoring of your compliance from a state office. If a bar sells alcohol to a minor it is the bar that will be in trouble, not the parents.

Earlier this year Ladbrokes Casino in UK got fined 5.9 million POUNDS (that’s 7.5 M USD) for “systematic failure in implementing the standard of social responsibility and anti-money laundering (AML) controls required of its licensing"… Meaning there was no victim complaining here, the UK was simply not happy with their processes to help protect vulnerable players. The mobile gaming community isn’t even being asked to enforce anything yet in most countries, but trust me, whether we want it or not, it’s coming.

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@Ozy1, if LB are deemed as gambling regulations will be put in place and there will be both a local enforcing state body and a global database of vulnerable players. That’s how it works with Casinos.

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I agree that loot boxes will be regulated in some form. I believe it’s coming too. Whether we want it or not. Alcohol is regulated, for safety standards. They tried to outlaw it for a time, and obviously that didn’t work very well. I think a moderate measure could be in place for loot boxes as well. I just don’t know what form that would take…

Let’s open the discussion up to what ways empire and puzzles would change, to incorporate this?

Do you think they would simply assign a dollar value to heroes and let you purchase them in the shop? Ascension materials purchasable?

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Me too mate, me too

Totally agree

The thing is, taking away lootboxes is taking away their lifeline or bloodstream.

I think if lootboxes were banned, or if certain dollar values were assigned to heroes, the logical commercial decision for them would be to scrap the game because it would be unprofitable

If there is regulation instead of banning there are plenty of ways LB could work out. Like having a guaranteed hero or hero level and leave the rest of rewards to be randomized. There isn’t much time left really, I believe next year we will see a lot of progress on such initiatives. Belgium took the lead already:

The Belgium example

So what would gaming in the UK look like if loot boxes were banned? One of its European neighbors can shed a little light on the situation, after loot boxes were made illegal in Belgium in 2018.

Loot boxes that require unlocking with real-world money have been given the boot by the Belgium Gaming Commission with games now needing a gambling license if they wish to include them, and there are potentially large fines and/or prison time for those that break the law.

The news was met with a mixed reaction at the time, with the magazine WIRED reporting that some games stopped selling their products in the country, while EA eventually made their loot boxes in FIFA Ultimate Team unlockable only through game-play points.

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Silly question but I thought I saw a Belgian alliance in the forum search - so there are Belgian players on E and P despite LB being banned in Belgium? Or SG got a licence.

Thought I had read it may be a Brussels thing only

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That’s a good question, but a Belgian alliance could be formed anywhere, with nationals of that country logging in elsewhere. I doubt SG would go for their gambling license, I am familiar with their regulation framework and it is brutal. Not worth a risk for a small territory.

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I would presume so. I guess since their law states lootboxes purchased with real money and E&P’s lootboxes are purchased with gems bought but not specifically asigned to lootboxes that it might be having a hard time with enforcing/banning it.

I mean yes there is a fine line there for sure but in all honesty we are not using money in this game we are using gems which can be obtained for free within the game which can be used as you please giving you total free will with your options, with an option to purchase more gems which could just as easily be used for avatars, filling storages, extra flags, etc etc thus thereis absolutely no aspect of the game forcing you to use those gems for lootboxes as it even offers free tokens and coins to allow you added chances at summonses.

So really it isn’t SG’s (in this case) fault that users CHOOSE to or feel they NEED to use all those gems on continous summonses or other lootboxes options.

What there is in the game though that isn’t a lootbox and does require you to spend actual money to purchase is the specials which offer you ascersion items, tickets, tokens, etc etc and yes gems.

Again yes all fine lines but still personal choice options.

Would be i interesting though to know if E&P is or isn’t allowed there.

And this is the underlying reason for lootbox complaints which is not getting (in this case) the hero you want, if everyone got the hero or item they wanted this discussion would never EVER had existed.

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Bro, that’s not how the real world works. Trust me, I work in the gambling industry and if Belgium requires a gambling license that means that EP is not in Belgium under any capacity. I assure you any Belgian players will be playing from another territory cause there is no way SG will be as silly to risk a 1 million USD fine or the likes. The whole thing with gems that can be purchased IS what everyone is looking at when referring to loot boxes; the whole “people buy with gems” defense does not hold water for any European regulator, you have no idea how vicious these bodies are, I’ve been dealing with them for a decade now.

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I think some of you who think a addiction is ok and its your responsibility as a adult to police yourself or children need to go work in a homeless shelter for a week or so and see what addictions including gambling has done to people and their families. It disgusts me to no end, but i guess whatever floats your boat. :pensive:

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I wish I could quote you whenever I heard someone on the forum make some kind of snide remark about consenting (addicted) adults making pulls of their ‘free will’ and that we are being nannies when we want to police gambling

Well said

I guess the question for me is how do you define addicted?

How much do you need to spend on the game to be considered addicted (in a harmful sense) as defined by a mental health professional?

For example even I know that I am addicted but when do I know it’s to a harmful extent?

We all use the term in a joking way but when does addiction become harmful?

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