Swedish Consumer Agency Konsumentverket has submitted a report that warned of the video game feature’s potential risks for children and the vulnerable to the country’s Gaming Market Commission Spelmarknadsutredningen. The report compiles a series of recommendations for reducing the negative effects of gambling in the country.
In its report, the Konsumentverket acknowledged that many had highlighted the similarity between loot boxes and real-money gaming. While it said the mechanic of buying an item without knowing what it was did not constitute gambling, it noted that if that item could then be exchanged for cash, this could fall under the remit of the Gaming Act.
“It is difficult to estimate the extent of any consumer problems caused by loot boxes in the Swedish market. There are individual cases that have attracted attention from the media both in Sweden and abroad, where adults or children have spent large sums on the purchase of loot boxes. Neither the Konsumentverket nor the Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen), however, have received more than a few notifications or questions from the public regarding loot boxes. Various factors highlighted as similar are imagery and sound effects, high availability, the ability to play alone at home, the short time between betting and outcome and the fact players can easily get stuck in the game and lose all sense of time and money being spent,” the report said.
Sweden’s Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi said it was important to ensure that consumers were properly protected.
“The fact that computer and video games are of great interest to children and young people makes the issue extra important,” Shekarabi said.