Australian committee recommends action on loot boxes

The call arrived in a report detailing major recommendations to curb problem gambling.
loot box australian government

In a report delivered to the Australian Government, officials from the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs have provided a range of recommendations for curbing problem gambling, with video game loot boxes getting special mention as a gambling entry point for young players.

The report, surfaced by, was commissioned as an inquiry into online gambling and its impacts, with a view to analyse whether the ‘current regulatory framework for online gambling and gambling advertising in Australia is fit for purpose and meeting community expectations.’ Researchers spoke to people living with gambling problems, as well as academics, health experts, community organisations, and other parties to form a basis for future recommendations.

Read: Gacha Gaming – The Good, the Bad, and the Bankrupt

While it was targeting at gambling as a whole, loot boxes rated a significant mention in the report, with the committee stating their inclusion in video games may manipulate players of all ages into gambling habits.

‘While the evidence is not fully developed in relation to the harms of loot box features in games, young people who play these types of games may be more likely to gamble with real money in adulthood, and players can be manipulated into spending more money than they can afford to lose,’ the report states.

‘This is extremely concerning, and it is the committee’s view that Australia cannot wait another generation before acting on this important issue.’

Recommendations for loot boxes

Read: Games with loot boxes could require R18+ rating in Australia

Recommendations from the committee included a wide range of potential solutions, each designed to reduce the appeal of loot boxes. In the report, the committee suggested spending controls on games with loot boxes, transparent odds and drop rates for loot boxes to be made clear, and for ‘algorithmic loot box features’ to be disabled as a default.

These solutions would be recommended as additional measures, on top of proposals that all games with loot boxes be rated R18+ as a default in Australia, to prevent young players from being exposed to gambling habits too early.

So far, the Australian Government has not taken significant actions to prevent loot boxes from being included in video games released in Australia, beyond these features now being identified in the rating label for games. The committee has recommended more action in the near future, as Australia continues to reckon with issues of problem gambling.

Per the report, ‘Australians outspend the citizens of every other country on online gambling’ – an issue which will need to be addressed sooner, rather than later.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.