Ireland does not see lootboxes in games as gambling

Oct

2

2018

The Government of Ireland does not intend to regulate lootboxes under the regime of gambling legislation in the country. According to an Irish secretary of state, the practice of lootboxes must be seen as e-commerce activity.

David Stanton, Secretary of State for the Irish Minister of Justice, tells Irish Legal that if games offer in-game purchases such as loot boxes or skins and are promoted in order to increase the chances of success, then this falls under normal consumer law. He states that his department does not have the role to regulate game developers on the point of how their games work or how in-game purchases are offered. Only if there is a game that offers the possibility to place a bet or take a risk for financial gain, should Stanton consider it a product that requires a gambling license.

The position of the Irish government is somewhat remarkable, because the country has previously signed a statement in which fifteen European gambling supervisors express their concerns about the risk of mixing games and gambling. The regulators committed themselves to the declaration to jointly thoroughly analyze the properties of games. In addition, a dialogue with the industry is made to ensure that the games comply with national laws and regulations.

There are more countries and organizations that do not directly consider lootboxes as a form of gambling. For example, the New Zealand government argued that lootboxes probably does not fall under the legal definition of gambling, as formulated in the New Zealand gambling law. This New Zealand position is shared by the ESRB; the organization does not find lootboxes equal to gambling. The Netherlands and Belgium stand for a harder line.

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