Gambling vs. Gaming: A Commentary on the Role of Regulatory, Industry, and Community Stakeholders in the Loot Box Debate

5 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2018

See all articles by Brett Abarbanel

Brett Abarbanel

University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: February 25, 2018

Abstract

The discussion on loot boxes has tempered somewhat from the height of the fever pitch that followed the release of Electronic Arts’ (EA) Star Wars Battlefront 2, but the fallout is far from over. The fervor erupted over the use of loot boxes – an in-game “box” that contains an unknown selection of virtual items – in video games.

A fundamental question rising from the debate asks: are loot boxes gambling? Many stakeholders have voiced their opinion on the issue, and legislators, gambling regulators, and their governments are weighing in with assessments and formal decisions. Chiefly among these calls have been demands to legally classify loot boxes as gambling and regulate them as such.

The world of gambling, particularly gambling regulation, has found itself in the gaming spotlight. The convergence of gambling and gaming has been a topic of discussion for several years now, as video games have included gambling mechanics in game and gambling games have incorporated more gaming mechanics.

This paper discusses the definition of gambling in different settings and the role of gambling regulation as it may apply to loot boxes.

Keywords: gambling, gaming, esports, loot box, loot crate, microtransaction

Suggested Citation

Abarbanel, Brett, Gambling vs. Gaming: A Commentary on the Role of Regulatory, Industry, and Community Stakeholders in the Loot Box Debate (February 25, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3129811 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3129811

Brett Abarbanel (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas ( email )

4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.unlv.edu/igi/

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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