New Zealand Says Lootboxes Aren’t Gambling

New Zealand Says Lootboxes Aren’t Gambling

The New Zealand Gambling Compliance office of the Department of Internal Affairs has said that lootboxes “do not meet the legal definition of gambling,” in a statement delivered to Gamasutra.

This news follows the furore caused by EA, and their approach to lootboxes in Star Wars Battlefront II’s progression. Ours is the latest country to share their thoughts on the issue, after Belgium’s launch of an investigation, and the state of Hawaii similarly following suit.

Trish Millward – a licensing compliance manager at the DIA – says her office has been following the debate. They currently believe that lootboxes don’t meet the legal definition of gambling under the 2003 Gambling Act.

We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.

Thanks for the tip, Blair!



 

Relevant Articles

 

Comments Comments (22)

 
Posted by sakuraba
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:03 AM
7
That's because nz loves gambling. Lotto, casinos, instant kiiwis and the tab.
 
 
 
Posted by Ryzlin
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:04 AM
4
So not gambling because you don't get money from it? Does that mean that games like counterstrike where you get a sellable item ARE gambling?
 
 
 
Posted by AdamC
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:09 AM
3
14 December 2017, 10:04 AM Reply to Ryzlin
So not gambling because you don't get money from it? Does that mean that games like counterstrike where you get a sellable item ARE gambling?
I doubt they looked into it that much.
 
 
 
Posted by Bunnny
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:14 AM
3
14 December 2017, 10:09 AM Reply to AdamC
I doubt they looked into it that much.
The confirmation on this point that clarifies the answer is good.


Loot boxes currently do not meet the definition of gambling here.


Now thats known all that has to be done is shift that so they are,

It would be a hell of a lot worse to try and ban them as gambling, then find out legally they aren't our definition.
 
 
 
Posted by ChieftaiNZ
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:19 AM
4
I can't believe its not Gambling! - New Hit game on Steam
 
 
 
Posted by predatorhunter
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:57 AM
3
But you do/can spend money on a chance to get something seems like a gamble to me.
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 11:00 AM
2
I suspect NZ is just being a wuss and standing back to see what everyone else does, and will roll with it then.

Thought with all of the negativity around the subject I cant totally blame them,
 
 
 
Posted by Bank
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 11:34 AM
-
14 December 2017, 10:14 AM Reply to Bunnny
The confirmation on this point that clarifies the answer is good.


Loot boxes currently do not meet the definition of gambling here.


Now thats known all that has to be done is shift that so they are,

It would be a hell of a lot worse to try and ban them as gambling, then find out legally they aren't our definition.
This is an outrage. I am outraged, N8.
 
 
 
Posted by cortez72
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 11:58 AM
2
So they are 'something ugly' but not gambling. Sounds like they fall into a grey area. As soon as there is money to be made at Government level, regulating something like this, you can be sure that grey area won't be grey for long.
 
 
 
Posted by I3ridgeI3urner
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 1:31 PM
1
UK speaks on CSGO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y3JK9783ws
 
 
 
Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 1:45 PM
4
14 December 2017, 10:19 AM Reply to ChieftaiNZ
I can't believe its not Gambling! - New Hit game on Steam
She said it basically is gambling ("may appear to be gambling") , but doesnt fit the "legal" definition of gambling here, so cant do anything about it. So the problem lies more with the Gambling Act 2003.
If lootboxes become more of a problem, you might find governments may change their laws to adopt this new type of gambling, because hey we all know its gambling, it just doesnt involve receiving money back from the other end like conventional types of gambling that the laws were developed around.
 
 
 
Posted by Coddfish
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 1:49 PM
6
Well, I came here to post this, but I guess I don't have to!

The question of whether loot boxes fit current legal definitions of gambling is largely moot; the question of whether laws should be updated to include things like loot boxes is far more pertinent. And there are a lot of strong arguments that yes, they should.
 
 
 
Posted by drunk_monk
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 2:16 PM
2
14 December 2017, 01:49 PM Reply to Coddfish
Well, I came here to post this, but I guess I don't have to!

The question of whether loot boxes fit current legal definitions of gambling is largely moot; the question of whether laws should be updated to include things like loot boxes is far more pertinent. And there are a lot of strong arguments that yes, they should.
They are part of the same conversation though.

So the NZ Gambling commission has said it doesn't meet the current definition, but will wait and see what happens elsewhere. So probably meaning, "we will let others spend money on this before we do".

So this news totally rules out if it is gambling in NZ and shows their stance, the next question becomes how does that change, and in what ways do we want it to change.
 
 
 
Posted by guido
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 5:21 PM
2
Yeah, not exactly gambling. In some manner possibly worse than gambling? You pay real money to get the chance to win the limited time use of some bits and bytes. When the servers shut down you lose everything permanently. And this is often targeted at kids, refer to Simpsons Tapped Out in game scratchies that are exactly instant kiwi style tickets paid for with real money. How not gambling? Talk like duck, walk like duck, is duck???

OK so maybe we need new laws to cover this. Don't just say it appears to look like gambling but something something isn't gambling so that's my job done. Take the next step or pass it onto the team that can!
 
 
 
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 6:57 PM
2
Yeah they certainly haven't done their research very well as there's definitely loot boxes out there that fit the bill and can be turned into real cash....as someone mentioned the Donut scratchie in Simpsons Tapped Out is definitely gambling and targeted at kids.

In Neverwinter theres lockboxes where you (can) pay real money for keys to unlock a box for a chance of winning something useful like a mount...The top prize mounts are often traded out of game for real cash I was offered $150 and $250 for one I received in a box once....I chose to trade it for another mount but yeah definitely need to revise the laws.
 
 
 
Posted by captain X nz
On Thursday 14 Dec 2017 10:10 PM
1
hahaha - love the last line "By the way, feel free to gamble internationally if you've had enough gambling over here..."
 
 
 
Posted by guido
On Friday 15 Dec 2017 11:26 AM
1
So it's not gambling you say. But it is MOSTLY gambling right? You put money in and you spin the RNG wheel and you get some pixels back out. Sometimes you can sell those pixels for real money but you're not winning real money so that's fine? You have to go outside the game to sell those pixels for real money?

Hmmm… Where have I heard this before? Pachinko! You aren't allowed to gamble for real money in Japan so instead in Pachinko you win groceries or other non monetary prizes, that you can then sell for real money to an exchange place (who take a cut) as soon as you leave the Pachinko parlour. So you're saying that you're OK with loot boxes because … … loopholes?? Or you just didn't look into this at all and know less about the issue than plebs on some blog do??
 
 
 
Posted by ReaperCrew
On Friday 15 Dec 2017 2:00 PM
1
I understand why lootboxes are not technically gambling, however, they are very much a lucky dip. What I hate most is that their purchase doesn't tend to improve your odds of getting what you actually want. However, when games allow you to transfer ownership (for profit) the contents of lootboxes, I would expect the IRD will want to get a piece of that action before too long.
 
 
 
Posted by ThatUndeadLegacy
On Friday 15 Dec 2017 6:29 PM
2
it's definitely gambling, but doesn't fit their requirement for gambling, how convenient, seems a few countries need to update thier rules & requirements for gambling.
 
 
 
Posted by NZBuc
On Saturday 16 Dec 2017 8:09 AM
-
15 December 2017, 02:00 PM Reply to ReaperCrew
I understand why lootboxes are not technically gambling, however, they are very much a lucky dip. What I hate most is that their purchase doesn't tend to improve your odds of getting what you actually want. However, when games allow you to transfer ownership (for profit) the contents of lootboxes, I would expect the IRD will want to get a piece of that action before too long.
How different would this be from baseball cards? Lucky dip pack, and you could sell rare ones for cash
 
 
 
Posted by Quidam
On Wednesday 10 Jan 2018 7:41 AM
-
I feel the debate about whether loot boxes meet the legal definition of gambling is almost semantic in nature, were it not for the fact that if they were regarded as gambling it would no doubt offer a compelling reason for game companies like E.A. and Activision to reign in their propensity to build all their games around this mechanic -as a cynical way to make easy money.
 
 
 
Posted by Quidam
On Wednesday 10 Jan 2018 7:46 AM
-
this is actually an issue I feel quite passionate about. I want game companies to make games because they love games but it seems to me that it is the Share Holders and C.E.O. execs making all the decisions about the overall game design based purely on a financial imperative -crushing creativity in favour of cold hard cash. I resent that E.A. has bought out and then closed multiple studios after ruining the franchises they took ownership of.