The Danish Gambling Authority has recently seen an increasing number of concerns from worried citizens / parents regarding loot boxes in computer games - especially in the game Star Wars Battlefront 2. Therefore, the Danish Gambling Authority has decided to provide the following general statement regarding loot boxes.
What are loot boxes?
A loot box is a virtual box containing random items in a computer game. These items can, for example, be virtual gold coins that can be used in the game, a particularly powerful weapon or other virtual objects, otherwise only obtainable by spending hours playing the game in question.
A player buys a loot box with Dankort / Visa card or another payment method, and receives a box of virtual items. These fictional items may both have a lower or a higher (relative) value than the amount paid for the loot box.
Loot boxes must - like other forms of gambling - have a license if the following three criteria are met:
- There must be a deposit
- There must be an element of coincidence
- There must be a win (if the prize is a virtual item, it should be able to translate it into financial terms)
Are loot boxes covered by the gaming act?
Games are covered by the Act on Gambling if it meets all of the three criteria mentioned above and if the game is either offered or arranged in Denmark.
The winnings obtained in a loot box in Star Wars Battlefront 2 cannot be converted into financial means, as the fictional items in the loot box can not be sold or otherwise converted into money. Therefore, loot boxes in their present form in Star Wars Battlefront 2 are not covered by the gaming act. This is also the reason why skinbetting in connection with computer games such as Counter Strike Global Offensive etc. are covered by the Danish Act on Gambling. They are covered by the Act on Gambling because skins from these games can be sold on different websites, and thus converted into money. Loot boxes in games other than Star Wars Battlefront 2 must be considered individually as it is not possible to generally assess whether the items won in a loot box can be converted into money. Therefore, it can not be excluded that loot boxes may in some cases be covered by the Act on Gambling.
The Danish Gambling Authority's message to parents
Director of the Danish Gambling Authority Birgitte Sand says that the authority is aware of the problem of loot boxes, although it is not as such regulated by the Danish Act on Gambling. - We follow the developments in the field; especially because loot boxes and the like are typically found in games that are largely aimed at children and we have a special obligation to protect children and young people, says Birgitte Sand, and continues: "However, I would like to emphasize the importance of parents taking an interest in the games their children play and to talk about responsible gaming behaviour. Then we may hopefully avoid unfortunate situations where minors spend money they should not have used.