Sweden considers classifying loot boxes as gambling

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Sweden has emerged in the forefront among several nations to suggest the implementation of a restriction on loot boxes in the video games industry. As reported to the P3 News by the country’s at present Minister for Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi, loot boxes might emerge as a form of gambling by the year 2019, which would subject them to more severe regulations under the Swedish law.

Shekarabi in a translation provided by P3 affirmed,”We are working to regain control of the gambling market as soon as possible, and to make sure that Swedish consumer protection laws apply to all actors which conduct gambling activities.” In compliance with the latest Swedish law, loot boxes are not recognised as gambling so there’s no way to legally regulate them.

Shekarabi outlined that he is seeking “a closer look into the phenomena of loot boxes to examine whether there is a need for change in legislation. I don’t want to rule out the possibility [of classifying loot boxes as gambling],” he said. “It is obvious that there are many people suffering from gambling addiction, who also get stuck in this type of gambling and lose money because of it.”

A separate P3 News story [Google translated] relates the tale of Oscar Hansson, who said that he has blown (over an indeterminate amount of time) 20-30,000 kr ($2500-$3700) on FIFA Ultimate Team. He has apparently been able to get his habit under control by removing his debit card from his FUT account, but nonetheless described his behaviour as “an addiction.”

Per Strömbäck of the Swedish game industry organisation Dataspelsbranschen, agreed that “it’s sad to hear these stories,” but suggested that age limits on games—FIFIA Ultimate Team requires players to be at least 16—rather than new legislation is a better way to address the problem. “Adult people are allowed to do what they want with their money,” he said. “It’s not uncommon that you spend a lot of money on an interest or a hobby.”