They could be categorised as gambling by the UK Government.
The UK government could classify loot boxes as gambling, it comes after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is set to call for evidence over concerns they are teaching young children to gamble.
Currently the UK does not class loot boxes as gambling, and for that reason they are not regulated by the Gambling Commission.
If they were classed as gambling, all games with loot boxes would be required to carry an 18 age rating, or change the way the loot boxes work.
Some countries already class loot boxes as gambling, such as Belgium. This caused an issue for EA with their Ultimate Team mode in FIFA as it relies mostly on loot boxes, or card packs as they’re known in the game. EA had to remove FIFA points from the game entirely in Belgium, and FIFA points can only be earned by playing the game and not bought with real money.
Last year, representatives from EA and Epic were called before parliament to give evidence, it didn’t go well for them, with an EA rep saying that loot boxes were actually “surprise mechanics” and calling them “quite ethical”.
The UK government are under increasing pressure to take a closer look at loot boxes and in September last year the DCMS select committee recommended the government regulate them under the gambling act.
Any changes to the regulation of loot boxes could feature in a broader overhaul of gambling legislation.