Paid random item monetisation mechanics or 'loot boxes' remain legal in the UK, but the Government's recent statement suggests greater scrutiny is on the horizon. Video game companies are implored to "do more" to make sure children cannot purchase loot boxes without parental consent.
The statement specifically calls for spending controls and transparent, accessible information for all players, warning that the Government "will not hesitate to consider legislation if companies do not bring in sufficient measures to keep players safe".
This echoes the current position of the UK Gambling Commission on loot boxes, which states that parents "expect proper protections to be put in place by those that create, sell and regulate those products". Under current UK law, offering paid random items is likely to fall short of a licensable gambling activity where the items are "confined for use within the game and cannot be cashed out". If industry efforts to self-regulate fall short of the Government's expectations, we expect this position may change.
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