It would appear that Sweden is hopping on the bandwagon when it comes to loot boxes in games and the argument on whether or not they correlate with gambling. The government is joining the likes of the US, Belgium, and South Korea into investigating this matter. The consumer protection authority will be overseeing this investigation, and it will ultimately decide on whether or not loot boxes should be regulated. While the Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, will not carry out this investigation, the consumer protection authority will contact them, as well as both the national public health department and the media counsel, for their stances on the subject.
The report is due on October 1, 2019, with the aim of the investigation being to assist lawmakers in coming to an informed decision on whether or not laws need to be put in place to regulate issues like these in video games. No specific game studio or company is under investigation, meaning this is more of a general investigation into the matter, rather than one particular entity being brought into question.
The Minister of Civil Affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, was interviewed during the report and had some things to say when it came to loot boxes in video games and what constitutes actual gambling when discussing these issues. He said:
The Swedish gambling legislation requires (broken down) the existence of a stake, a prize and a game of chance in order to meet the requirements of gambling. The prize requirement is typically the center of discussion in relation to loot boxes. Almost all gambling legislation’s require that the prize has an objective, real world monetary value (one exception to this rule would be Belgium which applies a subjective standard where it is sufficient that the prize has value for the player only). Since almost no video game allows “cashing out” virtual items generated by loot boxes, it can be argued that loot-box-generated items have no real world monetary value and therefore do not constitute regulated gambling.
What do you think about Sweden joining the fight against loot boxes in video games? Do you feel this is a necessity in the modern gaming world? Let us know in the comments!