Are FIFA Loot Boxes a Form of Gambling?
Over the past few years, several countries have begun to take a closer look at the in-game purchases that FIFA offers. There are many that claim that paying for these contact packs is a form of gambling. Today, the UK’s gambling authority is claiming that FIFA loot boxes are not a form of gambling.
It’s an interesting development and one that not all countries agree on. Now is a great time to look at why the UK believes FIFA does not offer gambling. We’ll also talk a little bit more about the UK’s recent crackdown on the online and land-based gambling industry. Let’s get into it!
What Exactly Are FIFA Loot Boxes?
FIFA is one of the most popular esports games in the world. It’s an association football (soccer) game that’s now available in 18 languages and can be purchased in 51 different countries. In 2018, the game sold more than 280 million copies.
One of the ways that this game earns money is by offering in-game purchases to their online players. This is one of the most common ways for popular video games to bring in extra revenue. FIFA, however, offers these purchases in a unique way that some feel is a form of gambling.
Players can purchase what are called “loot boxes.” A certain amount of money is paid, and in return, the player receives an electronic package that includes players, uniforms, etc. The contents of these boxes are not revealed until after an individual has paid for them.
This is why many consider FIFA loot boxes to be a form of gambling. In 2018, Belgium completely banned these loot boxes, claiming they violate the country’s gambling laws. How do lawmakers in the UK feel about this game?
UK Gambling Watchdog Claims Loot Boxes Are Not Gambling
It’s easy to see why some feel this game offers a form of gambling. Players are paying real money on something where the results are not known. Today, officials in the UK government have determined that FIFA loot boxes do not constitute a real form of gambling.
Neil McArthur, Chief Executive of the UK Gambling Commission, admits that there are concerns over this game, yet it doesn’t fall under the same category that traditional casino and sports gambling does.
“There are other examples of things that look and feel like gambling that legislation tells you are not – [such as] some prize competitions but because they have free play or free entry they are not gambling… but they are a lot like a lottery,” he said.
This doesn’t mean the discussion about this game’s legality has stopped. Recently, several third-party websites have begun allowing players to wager the content they receive from FIFA on internet casino slots. This gives these players the chance to win real money. Obviously, this is a concern for lawmakers in the UK.
UK Continues to Crackdown on Gambling Industry
For the past six months, the United Kingdom has been ramping up restrictions and regulations on the online and land-based gambling industry. It started with new laws towards gambling advertisements. Later, the government began the process to ban credit cards for online gambling.
In April, the government announced a new “National Strategy” to combat gambling addiction. The goal is to increase security for players and curb gambling ads to children. The government took new steps to accomplish this, including lowering the maximum stake for FOBT’s in land-based betting shops.
Unfortunately, some of these restrictions have seriously impacted these companies. Just last week, we reported on the news that new FOBT regulations have hurt several companies’ land-based betting shops.
We’re likely to see even more gambling regulations come up here over the next several months. As rates of problem gambling decrease, these new laws will simmer down.
The government has determined that FIFA loot boxes are not a form of gambling. Make sure to stay tuned for updates to this in the future. Let us know of any questions you have in the comment section below!
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