Social Gaming Scrutiny by Global Gaming Regulators

An open letter signed by 16 international gambling regulators, which includes the Washington State Gambling Commission, stated they are “increasingly concerned with the risks being posed by the blurring of lines between gambling and other forms of digital entertainment.” The regulators intend to analyze characteristics of social gaming and video games and, in the letter, specifically expressed concerns over the use of loot boxes

The idea of gambling regulators reviewing the loot box debate is questionable as some lawyers believe it falls within the realm of consumer protection rather than gambling regulation.

Belgium and the Netherlands issued a threat of enforcement action earlier this year. In reaction, some video game companies decided to modify certain features of their loot boxes while other companies continued business as usual.

The letter was signed by the heads of gambling agencies from Latvia, Czech Republic, Isle of Man, France, Spain, Malta, Jersey, Gibraltar, Ireland, Portugal, Norway, Netherlands, UK, Poland, Austria and Washington State. As the Belgian Gaming Commission already initiated legal proceedings against some companies, it chose not to sign the open letter to avoid jeopardizing its open investigation.

The open letter is available at: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/International-gaming-and-gambling-declaration-2018.pdf

If you have questions or need any legal assistance regarding the above, please contact the authors Karl Rutledge at krutledge@lrrc.com, Glenn Light at glight@lrrc.com, or Mary Tran at mtran@lrrc.com.