Online casinos in the UK are expected to cooperate with the UKGC and adopt the self-exclusion scheme GamStop as announced in March 2020 by the Gambling Commission. This scheme is a voluntary free service that controls problem gambling behaviours in players by banning them from their favourite casino sites for a stipulated period: 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years.
Loot boxes are highly tempting game items that award money or benefits in video games and increase the chances of players betting more money to gain loot boxes. More often, loot boxes need to be purchased in video games, similar to online gambling, where betting earns them higher rewards. This gives rise to problem gambling due to the urge to keep betting to earn loot boxes.
Thus GamStop implementation in video games with loot boxes may open up a new angle to safe gaming.
Should GamStop Be Applied to Video Games With Loot Boxes?
Opening loot boxes in video games is not radically different from gambling at non-GamStop online casinos like those listed at https://nonstopcasino.org/not-gamstop-casinos/. These two activities have a similar nature. While online gambling requires betting on real money and gaining cash prizes, video gaming depends on game rewards and levelling up. At times, mystery or loot boxes require monetary investments to unlock precious items. Hence, there are thoughts on applying the GamStop service to video games as well. There are positive as well as negative effects of implementing GamStop in video games, and the pros and cons are listed below:
Pros of Using GamStop in Video Games
- People with addiction would not waste money on loot boxes. Loots are immensely attractive with their rewards that can be unlocked using money. These provide special offers that are one of a kind, including high-range characters, armoury, treasure chests, gemstones, and more. Yet, research has seen that loot boxes give way to problem gambling and create a gambling addiction which leads to a financial drain. GamStop service would make sure that problem gamblers do not get to bet freely and are banned from gaming sites. It would ultimately prevent addicted people to waste money on iGaming.
- Pay-to-win would not be a problem. GamStop service bans betting for money for a selected period for users to practice self-restriction. Thus, the requirement to pay for loot boxes will not be necessary, and gamers can enjoy playing without the anxiety of losing money uselessly. Gamers would also be able to focus more on experiencing the thrill of gaming rather than worrying about paying-to-win loot boxes and thinking about investments in video games.
- Young people would not develop a gambling addiction. Video games attract the youth in masses, and more than 82% of young people, including young adults, play video games. It is considered that video games are connected to problem gambling: young people tend to fall for alluring offers and waste money buying in-game loot boxes. Implementing GamStop would prevent problem gambling habits development, and young gamers would be safe from the clutches of gambling addiction. Added to that, GamStop would not completely ban loot box video games for young children which would also prevent the illegal usage of adult accounts for gaming.
Cons of GamStop in Video Games
- Enabling GamStop for video games is technically more difficult than for casinos. Online casinos in the UK are bound by law to employ GamStop’s scheme in their service, but video games have no such necessities. Online casinos are paid services and involve terms of profit and loss, while no such terms are involved in video games apart from purchases made for levelling up. Hence, applying its services to video games that do not involve betting becomes difficult and unnecessary.
- Company revenues would fall dramatically. Employing the GamStop scheme for video games would result in a drastic fall in popularity and lead to a great loss of assets. The special features and loot boxes that make video games so popular would be blocked by GamStop, resulting in the mass withdrawal of gamers and opting for non-GamStop sites or gaming illegally. This fall would result in massive monetary losses for companies that spend millions to make their games more appealing to young gamers. Therefore, companies have to rethink their decisions to opt for the GamStop scheme, and most would find implementing it unnecessary.
Although there are many reasons why self-excluded users register at GamStop-free sites or play video games, this form of entertainment (especially if it involves loot boxes) can pose a threat to some of them. So, many iGaming regulatory bodies in Europe are currently researching ways to mitigate potential risks. As for the UK, its government decided not to ban video games with loot boxes for now. This decision was made keeping in mind the adverse reaction that they may face when young adults decide to break protocols and choose illegal gaming.
Loot boxes also do not require real money always since they can be won through clearing tasks and are safer compared to online gambling. Yet, there may be a decision taken in the future to add GamStop to all legal video games for better surveillance and protection.