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Loot boxes: Why gaming and esports need to engage in the UK’s review of the Gambling Act

Loot boxes: Why gaming and esports need to engage in the UK’s review of the Gambling Act
Monday, 19 October 2020 By Paul Gardner

On 23 September, the Government launched a call for evidence on the impact of loot boxes in video games, “to examine concerns they may encourage or lead to problem gambling.”[1] At first sight this may seem harmless enough and of little concern to most in the games industry, and even fewer involved with esports.  However, this issue is far from straightforward, and there is a risk that any resulting action could have unintended and damaging consequences.  The call for evidence is open until 22 November, and it is important that those involved in the games industry and with Esports engage with this process.

This article provides:

  • the background to the Government’s review of loot boxes in gaming;
  • the potential consequences of bringing loot boxes within the scope of gambling;
  • defining and distinguishing loot boxes and gaming;
  • the approach of the games industry to the potential regulation of loot boxes; and
  • the Government’s softer approach to gaming industry regulation.

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Written by

Paul Gardner

Paul Gardner

Paul is a partner at Wiggin who specialises in commercial transactions and regulatory issues relating to the cross-over of technology and entertainment, with a particular focus on the computer games industry. 

He has extensive experience of the contractual and copyright issues relating to content licensing and distribution through new media platforms and applications, including digital distribution, streaming and web-based services.

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