×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

French Regulator Criticizes Loot Boxes but Says They’re Not Gambling

French organization the Autorité de regulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) found that video game loot boxes don’t break the country’s gambling law, according to a 2017-2018 activity report GamesIndustry.biz reports. But, it’s not exactly complimentary toward them either.

Gambling is generally prohibited in France unless it’s expressly permitted by the regulator, according to Baker McKenzie associate Sebastian Schwiddessen, who wrote an analysis of the report. Only three types of online gambling are currently allowed — poker, horse betting, and sports betting. The ARJEL could potentially consider loot boxes gambling too if the items they generate have a real world monetary value, he said, especially if the items are likely to be sold outside of the game. While most publishers explicitly prohibit off-platform trading in their terms of service, the ARJEL said “a certain number of investigations are in progress.”

Like South Korea, the Netherlands and Belgium, the ARJEL began investigating loot boxes after widespread controversy last year over how they’re implemented in video games, especially full-priced AAA titles like “Star Wars Battlefront II” and “Destiny 2.” “Battlefront II” fans were particularly outraged, calling EA’s microtransactions unfair and exploitative. They blasted the publisher on Reddit, giving it the most downvoted comment in the website’s history. EA also reportedly lost an estimated $3.1 billion in stock value at the time. Hawaii state representative Chris Lee allegedly called the game a “‘Star Wars’-themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money” and introduced legislation that would prohibit selling video games with loot boxes to people under the age of 21.

Popular on Variety

While loot boxes might not fall under the legal definition of gambling in France, the ARJEL voted for a combined and coordinated action on them. It said they can serve as a gambling “apprenticeship” for young people. It also criticized the fact that minors can play games containing loot boxes without any age verification, and that the random number generator responsible for determining loot box items is not transparent to the player.

But, while the ARJEL’s comments are critical, Schwiddessen said they’re also non-committal and unspecific. “Altogether it is unlikely that any concrete actions will follow,” he said.

More Gaming

  • Green Day Beat Saber music pack

    Beat Saber Gets Green Day Music Pack, 360-Degree Levels

    Coinciding with Green Day’s performance at the Game Awards, Facebook announced late Thursday that the popular virtual reality game Beat Saber is getting a Green Day music pack. The 6-song pack is slated to go live at midnight, and players will simultaneously get access to Beat Saber’s long-awaited 360-degree gameplay. The Green Day music pack [...]

  • Ghost of Tsushima Trailer

    'Ghost of Tsushima' New Trailer Drops at The Game Awards

    A new full trailer for developer Sucker Punch’s “Ghost of Tsushima” is finally here. The latest substantial footage of the samurai game dropped at The Game Awards Thursday night, marking the first real look at the PS4 exclusive since Sony released a short teaser during its State of Play earlier this week. “Ghost of Tsushima” [...]

  • Ultimate Rivals The Rink - Apple

    Apple Arcade Launches NHL Game That Lets You Put Athletes From Other Sports on the Ice

    Now you can see NBA superstar LeBron James facing off against NHL great Wayne Gretzky in a fast-paced hockey game. In an innovative fantasy mashup for sports gaming fans, Apple Arcade is launching “Ultimate Rivals: The Rink,” a hockey game that lets you pit NHL players against athletes from other sports. The game is available [...]

  • Xbox Series X: Next-Gen Console Revealed

    Microsoft Reveals Next-Gen Console, Xbox Series X, at The Game Awards

    The next-generation Xbox console is officially called the Xbox Series X, and will be released over next year’s holiday season, Microsoft revealed during Thursday night’s The Game Awards. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took the stage at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater to make the big reveal about the project previously known as Project Scarlett, and [...]

  • The Game Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Game Awards

    The Game Awards will be taking place on Thursday night and, fittingly, there are plenty of ways to stream the event online. The whole show will be streaming live starting at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on The Game Awards’ YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch pages. Additionally, for the first [...]

  • Riot Games

    Riot Games to Pay $10 Million to Settle Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit

    Riot Games, developer of “League of Legends,” will fork over at least $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women employees alleging the company’s “bro culture” resulted in systemic gender discrimination. Terms of the settlement in the case, reached in August, were revealed in court documents filed last week in California [...]

  • Dreamscape_Dragon vr

    Dreamscape Gets ‘DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy’ VR Experience (EXCLUSIVE)

    Location-based virtual reality (VR) startup Dreamscape has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to launch a new “How to Train Your Dragons” experience at its flagship Westfield Century City VR center in Los Angeles later this month. The 11-minute “DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy” experience allows up to 8 participants to hone their dragon-flying skills together, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content