Dutch MP’s ready to ban video game loot boxes, citing manipulation
A majority in the Tweede Kamer is seeking to ban loot boxes from video games, arguing they are a form of gambling that manipulate children, RTL Nieuws reports.
Loot boxes are treasure chests in video games that contain a randomized selection of virtual items, which are often unknown prior to purchase. They are found in games like FIFA and Overwatch.
"Children are being manipulated into buying these loot boxes, but it's unclear what's in them. So it's a form of gambling and it's also addictive. It saddles families with unexpected, high bills," said CDA MP Henri Bontenbal, who is calling on the Cabinet to look into banning loot boxes.
The request is based on a recent report from the Consumentenbond (Consumers' Association) along with 19 other consumer organizations. These organizations noted that video games often convince players to purchase loot boxes with "psychological tricks" like countdown timers and imaginary currencies.
In March, the Council of State ruled that loot boxes in FIFA games didn't count as gambling when viewed in the context of the overall game. Instead, they were deemed "part of a game of skill and add an element of chance to the game." This contradicted the Gaming Authority, which had penalized FIFA for using loot boxes.