November 22, 2019 3 min read


Andrew Yang Takes Aim at Loot Boxes, Says They are Harmful to Children

Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang wants to tackle gambling issues in the U.S. Yang has already taken aim at the controversial loot boxes. 

Andrew Yang on Loot Boxes’ Neck

Democrat and presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently questioned the economics and psychological effects of loot boxes. His concerns were made clear in a policy paper titled, “Regulating Technology Companies in the 21st Century” published on his website. 

In the policy paper, Yang calls on U.S. legislators to come up with better laws that govern the ever-evolving world of technology.

According to him, the lawmakers are not up to date with the tech world, with his reference point being Mark Zuckerberg’s questioning by congress.  In particular, Yang took aim at cryptocurrencies and loot boxes. 

For the former, he says that it’s become a conduit for illegal activities and called for a national regulatory framework, in particular, he suggested reviving the Office of Technology Assessment. 

However, loot boxes seemed to have hit home with the Democrat presidential candidate. Yang says that loot boxes are causing negative psychological and economic effects on children.

Yang also added that loot boxes and gambling are not far off, contradicting what the Minister for Parliament in the U.K. said. That loot boxes are not in any way gambling. 

However, Yang has a different opinion,

“These mechanisms can seem similar to gambling because of the random outcome, keeping players (usually kids) engaged on the platform for longer or costing them hundreds or thousands of dollars in addition to the base cost of the game. Some games have a “free-to-play” model, where the game itself is free but they’re funded by the purchase of these loot boxes.”

Controversy Over Loot Boxes

Players may be required to spend extra money to purchase a digital box with random digital information such as weapons and player costumes. This is after spending money on acquiring the game in the first place. 

The bone of contention arises from the random returns resulting from the spend. Many critics say this gaming mechanic is similar to making a spin on a slot machine.

The inclusion of the mechanic into the Star Wars game by Electronic Arts sparked outrage from Disney. 

The Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating the move courtesy of Senator Maggie Hassan’s insistence.

Loot boxes have faced intense criticism from various quarters. In fact, the industry is yet to see another controversial practice. 

In line with the raging criticism, Belgium has banned loot boxes with China requiring companies to disclose the exact mechanics used by the game, including the odds. That’s exactly what Andrew Yang wants to be done in the U.S.

According to Yang, it’s understandable for businesses to tap into an already existing customer base, however, the in-game economies and mechanics used in loot boxes must be transparent for the sake of the customer.

It’s not the first time Yang has shown support for gambling entities. Just this year, he backed online poker legislation to protect players from offshore sites. 


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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