The NSW and Victorian state government have sent in their public submissions into the inquiry, investigating on whether lootboxes constitute as gambling.
Both the NSW and Victorian government have sent letters for the inquiry into whether “constitute a form of gambling, and whether they are appropriate for younger audiences.” The Victorian State Minister of Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Marlene Kairouz, said in her submission that “The Victorian Government is concerned about the potential for new gambling products, or new
types of video or online games that include elements that mimic gambling, to adversely impact
children and other vulnerable groups.”
They made note to outline the government definition of gambling being “an activity in which a prize of money, or something else of value is offered or can be won,” that “a person pays or stakes money or some other valuable consideration to participate” and that there is “an element of chance” to the activity. It concluded that as lootboxes do not all work the same way across all games, that they would have to be investigated in a “case-by-case basis”.
Deputy Secretary for NSW Liquor, Gaming and Racing, Paul Newman, acknowledged this similarly, writing that most lootboxes do not “constitutes gambling under NSW gambling laws.” But, they did go on to mention that some types of lootboxes that contained items that could be paid for with real money, were “likely to offend NSW gambling laws, depending on the circumstances.”
Minister Kairouz also noted that research has shown that similar cases of “simulated gambling games are having a “gateway effect” for some users,” in addition to this, she made the point of stating “More stringent classification of video games that include loot boxes or similar items would better recognise the potential harm that can arise from the convergence of gaming and gambling and the consequent normalisation of gambling.”
Again, Deputy Secretary Newman agreed to a degree, saying “The NSW Government supports additional protections for consumers to reduce the risk of normalisation of gambling to minors, including from the features of some games (such as loot boxes).”
The submission from the NSW state government elaborated on all of these points, in a significantly longer letter than the 1 and a half page submission from the Victorian government. Both of these submissions can be downloaded from the inquiry’s official page on the Australian parliament website.
The inquiry was begun after the Australian Senate passed the motion to carry out the investigation. The Environment and Communications References Committee responsible for the inquiry, is due to present it’s findings on the 17th of September later this year.
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