The Government of Spain has a new objective in the fight against gambling: it will restrict the popular ones "loot boxes" of videogames ("loot boxes" in Spanish), as their operation is sometimes very similar to traditional games of chance.
So-called "loot boxes" are paid add-ons in many games, including the hit games Overwatch and FIFA 20, which give a random reward In some titles the content of the boxes is aesthetic, but in others it provides improvements to stand out at a playable level (weapons, power-ups, characters…)
The Spanish government is working on a law that regulates bookmakers, normally associated with soccer, but it has been leaked that it would take advantage of it to include a phenomenon that already causes concern, especially since the"loot boxes" appear in games available for kids
For example, the controversial FIFA 20, which seems suitable for all audiences due to its sports theme, includes a system to buy player packs at random, necessary to be competitive in online modes.
At the moment, the details prepared by Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumption, for the video game sector are not known, but numerous experts agree that the " loot boxes" they replicate the mechanisms that cause addiction in games of chance, and that creates risks.
Spain would not be the first country to have legislation of this type, in Belgium the "loot boxes" have been equated to betting, and many titles have removed them there. Other countries are also considering introducing restrictions, and even China has forced the probabilities of finding objects in the boxes to be public.
From the point of view of the players they have received a lot of criticism, as they distort the essence of the games and, on occasions, give victory to whoever pays the most, not the most skilled.
For example, Star Wars Battlefront II experienced a significant failure due to the abusive use of loot boxes, but in other cases they have become a huge source of income for their creators.
Although the exact intentions of the government are not known, at first it seems that only targets loot boxes because of their random componentthat could encourage compulsive gambling. Many titles, from Fortnite to Candy Crush, include in-game micropayments, but knowing in advance what you're going to get.
We will have to keep an eye on the government's decisions, as its proposals to control bookmakers have relaxed in recent weeks, and it would not be surprising if the video game industry also exerted pressure to that the fight against compulsive gambling does not harm them excessively.
What do you think of the Government regulating loot boxes within the anti-gambling law? Do you think we are facing a potential problem?