Gambling on Loot Boxes Is Now a Thing

Loot boxes have been a bone of contention in the United States, as well as in Western Europe and Australia. People can find the boxes in many popular video games. They contain loot, extra weapons, and extra lives players within the game might need. Many governments want to regulate or ban loot boxes because they believe they are a form of gambling. Now, people are betting on the chance that a loot box is rare or valuable on websites. And, if a person wins the bet, he or she receives his or her winnings in cash or prizes.

What Are Loot Boxes?

loot boxLoot boxes have been in some video games for the last eight or nine years. Video game companies originally designed them to add features, lives, weapons or other characteristics that would benefit a player. At first, the games used loot boxes as incentives to keep people playing the game. However, increasingly, players are using loot boxes as rewards they have to pay for to possess. Sometimes, players earn loot boxes for player reviews of the game. Players can also try to work for loot boxes in the game when they exceed levels.

The Increase in Loot Boxes

As more and more players began to use loot boxes, companies began to capitalize on the fad. They made loot boxes part of an in-app program purchase. Players who didn’t want to work for a loot box could pay for one instead. The initial price was not much. Because players merely clicked on a button to make a purchase, they didn’t notice how much the boxes cost.

People began to complain about loot boxes for several reasons. First, parents complained children could buy loot boxes without informing them by using the in-app purchase feature. Also, people noted just because they bought loot boxes didn’t mean there would be anything in them. People considered it a form of gambling for two reasons. The first is there was no guarantee of a return. The second reason is an algorithm determines when a person wins a loot box.

Loot boxes have been very popular in multiplayer games, especially in eSports. They can help teams win tournaments. eSports are rapidly gaining in popularity.

The Notion of Rarity, Loot Boxes, and Gambling

Loot Boxes, and GamblingAs games have become more advanced, the idea of loot boxes has also become more advanced. People treat loot boxes that are rare as something that they should value. Because loot boxes are valuable for video game players, people have begun using them as currency. People are able to buy and sell their loot boxes on the Internet. They can place bids on loot boxes. Players can invest in hundreds or thousands of loot boxes on the chance the boxes have value for their characters. In some cases, people can invest a lot of money and receive nothing.

Gambling on loot boxes takes two forms. People can decide to pay for a loot box or sell one online on the chance it is valuable. People also decide to gamble on whether the loot box has value or is rare. These kinds of bets are prop bets.

There are several countries currently investigating loot boxes. In addition, some companies are heeding the pressure to remove loot boxes. Companies are also deciding how to make loot boxes available for players. The company that makes Star Wars: Battlefront II has been under a torrent of criticism for its loot box sales. Electronic Arts, the manufacturer of the game, has said it will continue to research the problems with loot boxes. In the meantime, many people are now betting on loot boxes the way they bet on a coin toss.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.