The House of Lords Gambling Committee says video game loot boxes should be regulated under gambling laws.
The Lords say loot boxes should be classified as “games of chance” – which would bring them under the Gambling Act 2005.
“If a product looks like gambling and feels like gambling, it should be regulated as gambling,” their report says.
And they warn that such a change should not wait.
“The Government must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation,” said a statement accompanying the report.
Loot boxes have long been controversial in video games. They offer players a chance at a randomised reward when opened. To further complicate matters, boxes can often be bought for real money, and the rewards can sometimes be traded.
The Lords report is wide-ranging, covering the entire gambling industry, but focuses in part on new forms of gambling, and those targeted towards children.
“There is academic research which proves that there is a connection, though not necessarily a causal link, between loot box spending and problem gambling,” it says.