Australia: Federal member of Clark presents bill to target in-game loot boxes

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An independent federal representative for Clark named Andrew Wilkie released information on a fresh proposal that aims to restrict children’s access to products with loot boxes.

Many nations throughout the world have had issues regarding loot boxes. Several lawmakers compared the virtual rewards in these loot boxes, some of which can be acquired through real money as gambling.

Loot box processes resemble gambling because the prize is determined randomly, which is one of the main reasons the new bill intends to restrict children’s access to such items.

In his statement, Wilkie said, “In essence, the bill requires the Classification Board to consider loot boxes when classifying a game and to set a minimum classification or R18+ or RC for games containing this feature, in line with the fact that you must be 18 to gamble in Australia legally.”

The proposal by Wilkie also focuses on mandating that warnings about the presence of loot boxes be displayed in games with loot box mechanisms. The bill aims to prevent children from purchasing and using such products, and it will allow parents to find out whether a game uses the loot box system.

Wilkie also pointed out that the loot box function is also seen in well-known games like Mario Kart, FIFA, Call of Duty, and Star Wars. In fact, he claimed that a study by the Gaming Council revealed that 62% of the most popular games feature a loot box system.

Moving on to the harms of loot boxes, Wilkie shared a story on behalf of a mother about his son, stating, “boy who was only 17 and spent AU$ 3,500 in only eight weeks on loot boxes.” The child is now 24 years old and still has the same habit.

“He could not hold down a job because of his gaming addiction,” he added. To quote the exact words of the child’s mother, Wilkie said, “What people don’t understand is that the brain of a gamer is exactly the same as a heroin addict. It’s no different. It’s a dopamine hit.”