Brazil declares war on loot boxes

While in many countries online gambling is taking place for the first time legalized or newly regulated, other countries are declaring war on the loot boxes. Strictly speaking, these are not games of chance, but they can trigger a gambling addiction. This is the opinion of many experts, which is why Brazil is currently taking tougher action against them. There are even countries that already classify and ban loot boxes as gambling.

Ein Jugendlicher sitzt mit Kopfhörern vor dem PC. Im Hintergrund ist auf dem Bildschirm ein Videospiel zu sehen, das verschwommen erscheint.

Brazil has set up a committee of inquiry to examine whether loot boxes should be considered gambling. If this is the case, penalties would be imposed on loot boxes.(©11333328/Pixabay)

Loot boxes: function and application

Most people know loot boxes without really knowing it.Loot boxes are used in video games and help to find treasure. These are often crates that are won during a game. The player has to open these boxes, because in these boxes there are items that help in the further course of the game. So players can get weapons, keys, characters or jerseys. These are necessary to advance to the next level.

All players are on the hunt for these loot boxes, as they arenecessary for further progress. This fact causes a kind of gambling addiction to develop. Another problem is the possibility of purchasing the loot boxes. Thus, a normally free game suddenly becomes a paid game. These two reasons are currently causing Brazil to take tougher action against the loot boxes. Another problem is seen by many organizations in the fact that loot boxes are also found in typical children's games like Mario Kart. This creates an incentive to continue playing in order to open as many loot boxes as possible.

Lawsuits against game manufacturers

In Brazil there is the organization ANCED, which is specifically committed to the rights of children and young people. Exactlythis organization has now filed several lawsuits against the loot boxes. The game manufacturers Nintendo, EA Games, Riot Games and others are primarily affected by the lawsuits. Large corporations such as Google, Apple, Sony and Microsoft also have to deal with lawsuits. These companies are accused of making the video games available on their platforms and supporting the game makers. Furthermore, some corporations earn money from the video games because they receive commissions from the game manufacturers.

The lawsuits have been filed with the competent district court and not only request theimmediate ban on the loot boxes. At the same time, compensation is demanded if the loot boxes have been paid for. Overall, ANCED is demanding a sum of almost three billion euros. The main argument is that loot boxes are considered gambling because, as mentioned at the beginning, they can also cause gambling addiction.

The latter would be triggered, among other things, by the fact that when the boxes are openedacoustic and optical signals appear. The glowing and flashing would be reminiscent of slot machines. Children and young people are particularly susceptible to these stimuli. That is why the loot boxes must be abolished in the long term - this is the demand of ANCED.

More countries are fighting loot boxes

The organization's notice that loot boxes are already banned inBelgium and the Netherlands could possibly help. Both countries have already put these under the gambling law, which is why the loot boxes are not only banned. Providers of corresponding video games even have to reckon with high penalties.

Other European countries are ready to check the legality of loot boxes: Great Britain, Spain, USA and Sweden are currently dealing with whether loot boxes are in fact to be classified as gambling. The Brazilian government also wants to look into this issue now that the lawsuits have been filed. aCommittee of Inquiry is currently clarifying the question of whether the loot boxes should be banned entirely. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the loot boxes couldnot only be banned, but also be fined. There is currently $700,000 per day in the room.

Kenya has already made a decision and will not put loot boxes under the Gambling Act. So they will not be banned in the future. However, in the future there will be an age rating of 18, which the game manufacturers are not happy about.

Lawsuits also in the USA

In the USAApple already had to defend itself against the allegations and against a lawsuit. The class action lawsuit was filed by parents who accused Apple of making money from the loot boxes. In fact, Apple receives a 30 percent commission and earned $1 billion in 2017 by providing the video games.

DGOJ determined that35 percent of PC games contain loot boxes. The proportion is higher for games for smartphones, at 50 percent. The loot boxes are evenly distributed across paid and free games. This means that every child and young person will sooner or later be confronted with these loot boxes.

In addition to Mario Kart games, there are loot boxes in Fifa and Battlefront II. In pursuit of these boxes, the game keeps going, putting other pastimes on the back burner. The months-longlockdown certainly contributes to the fact that adolescents sit longer in front of the PC or tablet. From this point of view, it seems reasonable to either ban the video games altogether or only make them available for adults.

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The article was published on April 28th, 2021 in the magazine by cpaws-ov.org under the keywords, ,,,, published.
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