Loot boxes don't count as gambling in the ESRB's books


"But other times you'll end up with a pack of cards you already have". There's also the argument that if they did rule loot boxes to be gambling, any game with this kind of economy would be labeled "Adults Only" AO.

As a result, the ESRB and PEGI limit themselves to tagging games that contain either Real Gambling or Simulated Gambling.

Loot boxes seem to be grabbing hold as the big new monetization trend in video games and people are pushing back, claiming they're just a thinly veiled gambling system used to exploit players. It's not even up to rating boards as to what is classed as gambling, as "this is defined by national gambling laws", Bosmon continues.

More seasoned experts in the world of gambling suggest that loot boxes are, indeed, the same as gambling since the items you can obtain do have value outside the game, regardless of whether you can sell them for real money within the game or not.

In that respect, turning attention to popular card games such as Pokémon, Magic the Gathering and Blizzard's Hearthstone, none are classified as gambling and yet all are accessible to nearly everyone.

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Exhausted of arguing among themselves, some members of the community reached out to higher entities, and now reporters from both Kotaku and Eurogamer have obtained concrete answers from the ESRB and PEGI: loot boxes do not fall under the gambling category in video games.

However, better items might be restricted to players who pay for them. If you are truly against loot boxes in games, you are free to exercise your right to not buy a title with them.

China, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have all taken action to regulate skin gambling and loot box trading.

Dirk Bosmans, from European video game rating organisation PEGI echoes these statements to Eurogamer, saying "Loot crates are now not considered gambling: you always get something when you purchase them, even if it's not what you hoped for". After the recent appearance of such features in games like Middle-earth: Shadow of War and Star Wars: Battlefront II many started raging about how players shouldn't have to spend more money on a $60 video game and there was a statement "flying in the air" that loot boxes should be seen as gambling.

KitGuru Says: So many issues surround the idea of loot boxes, which makes me wonder why anyone would support them in the first place.