Loot Boxes: Gambling or not?

20 May 2023 at 19:28 in Gaming News with no comments

In the gaming industry, the topic of loot boxes is highly controversial, as some consider it pure gambling while others do not. Some love the thrill of loot boxes, while others find the loot box system dangerous.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into the topic to understand exactly what loot boxes are, how they work, and what kind of impact they can have on players.


By Kilian Kilian

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  Loot Boxes  

Key Facts

  • Loot boxes give you random in-game items.
  • You can lose a lot of money through buying loot boxes.
  • Some countries prohibit loot boxes.

What are Loot Boxes?


Let’s start by clarifying what exactly loot boxes are.

Loot boxes are virtual treasure chests that players can purchase in certain games to obtain new items from them, either cosmetic items or emotes, as seen in games like Overwatch.

  Loot Boxes  

However, there are also games where buying loot boxes can influence gameplay, such as in FIFA Ultimate Team, where you can unlock new players through loot packs.

Players can obtain loot boxes for free, for example, through a battle pass. But in most games, there is also the option to buy loot boxes using in-game currency or real money.


How do loot boxes work?


Most loot boxes use an algorithm to randomly give players items or skins. The chance of receiving a rare item is often much lower than that of common items.

You can think of it as each item being assigned a number. For example, common items are assigned numbers 1-90, while rare items are assigned numbers 91-100. Then, a random number is generated, and depending on the number rolled, the player receives the corresponding item. However, the player is unaware of this process and only sees the item they receive in the end.


Are loot boxes considered gambling?


Opinions on this topic are quite divided, as mentioned above. Some argue that loot boxes are a form of gambling because players can use real money to purchase these boxes without knowing what they will get.

Others argue that loot boxes are not gambling since players always receive something, even if its value is less than what they paid for.

However, if we take the example of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, where rare crates can cost around $1000 to purchase and the included skin is highly likely to be worth less than $1, it must be acknowledged that the losses in a video game can be significant, even if the player receives something in return.

  Loot Boxes

What impact do loot boxes have on players?


Loot boxes can have both positive and negative effects on players. The positive aspect is that they can increase players’ motivation, especially when they can obtain them for free through gameplay.

The negative side is that loot boxes can tempt players to spend a lot of money on them to acquire rare items, often resulting in significant losses. This can lead to financial problems for some players who go overboard with their spending.

Ultimately, due to their resemblance to gambling, loot boxes can also contribute to the development of gaming addiction, either within the games themselves or on external websites. For example, in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, there are many external websites where players can open fictional crates for high amounts of money to obtain rare weapon skins.


Are loot boxes legal?


The legality of loot boxes varies from country to country. Some countries consider loot boxes to be a form of gambling and prohibit them in video games. In other countries, there may not be specific laws regarding loot boxes, but they could still be classified as gambling. And in some countries, loot boxes are not considered gambling and are therefore completely legal.




Whether loot boxes are considered gambling or not cannot be definitively determined, but there are still some parallels that can be observed. While some players enjoy opening loot boxes, it is important to consider the financial aspect, which is more important than the fun factor, as players are highly likely to lose a lot of money in the process.


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