Spanish Gambling Regulator Urges for Loot Boxes Reclassification

The Spanish gambling regulator urged the government to reclassify video game loot boxes as “games of chance”. If government officials approve such change and prepare the law texts, the loot boxes may be reclassified during the second half of 2021.

DGOJ Urged the Spanish Government for Reclassification of Loot Boxes

The Spanish gambling regulator “Direccion General de Ordenacion del Juego” (DGOJ) may be looking to reclassify the loot boxes as “games of chance”. DGOJ Director-General Mikel Arana has notified the Spanish government of the proposed changes, SBC News revealed earlier this week. The proposal calls for changes in the Spanish “Gaming Law” reclassifying the loot boxes.

However, before any changes, public consultation is expected to launch by the end of this year. If approved, the changes may come into effect during the summer of next year. The newly proposed changes aim at updating the Spanish digital laws to protect children from “compulsive and impulsive transactions“.

It is expected that the texts for the new law will be drafted by the government and published next year. With that in mind, earlier this month, Spain rolled out new gambling ad restrictions. Effective from November 3, the restrictions limited gambling ad hours from 1 A.M. to 5 A.M. and brought a ban to gambling sponsorships.

Video game loot boxes have been a significantly controversial topic lately. Last month, the Dutch gaming regulatory body Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) re-issued a €5 million financial sanction against Electronic Arts (EA). The new penalty was a part of an enforcement action against EA from 2019. The regulator argued that EA allegedly violated Dutch gambling laws with certain elements of the football game FIFA. The elements called game packs were classified as loot boxes by the regulator.

With that in mind, it’s not only Spain that is looking to reclassify loot boxes. Earlier this year, in the UK, a report issued by the House of Lords Gambling Committee urged that loot boxes need to be reclassified as gambling products. The report warned that gambling-related harm may come from loot boxes. Afterward, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport launched research looking into loot boxes.

Currently, the video game industry value is estimated at approximately £23 billion a year. While the revenue continues to grow, only a part of it is derived from loot boxes. However, the popularity of loot boxes has increased significantly in the last five years and it continues to grow. While the loot boxes are controversial for governments, undoubtedly they remain popular among both PC and mobile game fans.

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