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Spain Will Be the First Country in Europe to Regulate The ‘Loot Boxes’

June 8, 2022 | Government

MADRID, Spain (June 3, 2022) — The Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzón, announced this Wednesday that Spain will be the first country in Europe to have “a specific law” to regulate video game loot boxes.

This has been advanced at the opening of the Loot Boxes seminar. New challenges for the video game industry organized by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to discuss these random reward mechanisms with experts and professionals from the sector.

Garzón explained that his department will present a regulation in a few weeks that will be “pioneering in Europe” and that will allow Spain to regulate loot boxes . That is, “devices that have an economic value in a real or fictitious market and whose random prize can be resold or exchanged, including the famous NFTs or cryptocurrencies.”

The objective of the future standard, according to the minister, is “to make the best possible law for the protection of all consumers and people who play video games.”

The Minister of Consumption has stressed that having a “specific law” in this area “will allow fun and that this is compatible with the preservation and maximization of the health of all consumers and, in particular, of the most vulnerable”.

According to the National Plan on Drugs, 3 out of 10 students spent money in 2021 on video games to improve their position, character, accessories, image… regardless of the initial purchase and they are the youngest boys — above the girls — those who use these purchasing mechanisms the most.

This means, in the words of Garzón, that we are “facing an open model that allows the player to pay for improvements that will probably provide him with more leisure but, probably, also more competitive elements”.

“A system as particular as that of the loot boxes that we are analyzing today is where characteristics very similar to those of traditional games of chance have been introduced. They share the randomness or chance in the result, that it costs money to activate the mechanism and that the prize has an evaluable value”, he has argued.

Given this and given that these mechanisms can be associated with the “negative consequences” that traditional games of chance entail, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs will promote a specific rule that regulates them. Above all, according to Garzón, because they can lead to “thoughtless, compulsive or even pathological” consumption behaviours.

Finally, the minister pointed out that the defense and protection of vulnerable people and, in particular, minors, is a main objective of the Government. Hence, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs wants to carry out “the best possible law” in this matter.

 

SOURCE: Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

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