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ESRB Ruling Adds To The Fuzziness Of The Digital Frontiers

ESRB, an American organization in charge of video games rating has upheld the decision of PEGI, its European counterpart not to treat a “loot boxes” monetization system in modern MMRPG and other games as a form of gambling. The reason behind that decision is that the buyer of the so-called “loot box” at least gets something in exchange of his or her money. That ruling opens wide opportunities for misinterpretation. For example gambling sites can offer something unwanted and useless as a result of failed bets – and thus their loot boxes will serve as a ticket out of the gambling restriction legislation.

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The “Loot Box” system has grown unnoticed from a modest idea to the very mainstream of money squeezing. It has gone unnoticed by the both PEGI and ESRB until it has grown to big to fail being the main source of income for the major game development studios. The Gambling Commission adds further definition: under ther rules 3.17 and 3.18 clearly divides “loot box system” as exception of the slot machines, even if they look and work similar. You will be surprised, GC does not consider the LBS (Loot Box System) a form of gambling because of the goods in the boxes “do not have real world value”. Gambling Commission turns the blind eye to the third-party market of the loot, flourishing around all popular massive online games. Digital loot can be sold, bought and exchanged for real world values almost instantly.

Generally, modern online gaming is developing much faster than old-school regulations around them. Probably we will witness the time of total helplessness of regulators – and the only ones who will obey the dusty regulations will be the classy real world casinos.

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