UK Reverses Course On Gambling Thanks To EA’s Tone Deaf Argument

Who would have guessed that Electronic Arts worst enemy would be itself? Outside of everyone with a shred of common sense and human decency I can hear you saying, and I get it.

The last we heard from the UK in terms of possible loot box regulations, the Gambling Authority stated that loot boxes are not gambling because there is no real money payout system. Not too long afterward the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee had a sit down with some representatives resulting in what might be the most embarrassing statements to ever come out of the mouth of the gaming industry. EA’s Kerry Hopkins stated that FIFA’s Ultimate Team packs were “quite ethical and quite fun” while Epic went even deeper into propaganda territory by stating “I would disagree with the statement that Epic makes money from people playing the games.”

Well following a deluge of public comments on the hearing (never let anyone tell you your complaints don’t matter), the DCMS has published its report on immersive and addictive technologies and they are not happy with how Kerry Hopkins conducted herself. In thanking the number of people who came forward with information, the DCMS took time to admonish the industry for its dishonest and unacceptable conduct:

“In contrast, we were struck by how difficult it was to get full and clear answers from some of the games and social media companies we spoke to and were disappointed by the manner in which some representatives engaged with the inquiry. We felt that some representatives demonstrated a lack of honesty and transparency in acknowledging what data is collected, how it is used and the psychological underpinning of how products are designed, and this made us question what these companies have to hide. It is unacceptable that companies with millions of users, many of them children, should be so ill-equipped to discuss the potential impacts of their products.”

In its conclusion, the DCMS has recommended further action be taken by the government in accordance with the 2005 Gambling Act.

“We consider loot boxes that can be bought with real-world money and do not reveal their contents in advance to be games of chance played for money’s worth. The Government should bring forward regulations under section 6 of the Gambling Act 2005 in the next parliamentary session to specify that loot boxes are a game of chance. If it determines not to regulate loot boxes under the Act at this time, the Government should produce a paper clearly stating the reasons why it does not consider loot boxes paid for with real-world currency to be a game of chance played for money’s worth.”

You can read the rather lengthy report at the UK Parliament website here.

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