Australia to crack down on video games that contain loot boxes

Australia to crack down on video games that contain loot boxes

Lawmakers in various countries across the world continue to debate over so-called loot boxes in video games and their gambling implications. However, Australian lawmakers have made up their mind to crack down on video games that include simulated gambling.

Australian lawmakers have proposed enforcing an adults-only rating on video games that include simulated gambling in any form, including loot boxes.

According to emerging media reports, the federal government of Australia has plans to slap an R18+ rating on all video games that include simulated gambling, including the games that offer casino gaming. If such a law passes, only 18-year or older consumers would be allowed to buy such video games because they may contain content that may be offensive to certain sections of the community.

Lawmakers also want video games with loot boxes (a virtual item that can be redeemed to receive a randomized selection of further virtual items) to be rated a minimum of “M” for representing mature. The “M” rating means the video games are not recommended for any individual under 15 years old. Last year, the government had also tried to make so-called loot boxes adults-only gaming content.

If case the aforementioned changes gets implemented, gaming enthusiast under 18 will not be able to purchase simulated gambling-included video games. The new measures already gained the support of some very influential figures, including Communications Minister Michelle Rowland. It is worth-mentioning here that Rowland has been an integral member of the country’s gambling reforms team.

Rowland pointed out that the reforms are required as there is currently no standard definition of what constitutes gambling. Ongoing debates on loot boxes are enough to prove that.

When asked for a comment, Rowland stated, “A parent would expect that if their children had purchased and was playing a game and that game contained some simulated gambling, that they have a right to know about that.”

She stressed that for minors (children under 18) living at home, parents should make all the decisions on what their children purchase.

Proponents of the anti-gambling movement in Australia have long been arguing that loot boxes lead to hardcore gambling, just like the contention that consuming marijuana paves way for addiction to hard drugs.

The aforementioned suggested ratings for video games containing loot boxes and other forms of simulated gambling are currently under review by parliamentarians. For the time being, it remains unclear when or if they will approve the suggested ratings.