Washington State Bill Calls Gambling Commission to Study Loot Boxes

A new bill could put an end to the controversy over loot boxes and gambling mechanics in video games, at least in Washington State. The proposal calls for the state gambling commission to conduct a study to determine what constitutes gambling in a video game.

While S 6266 does not include any direct regulations on loot boxes, it sets the stage for laws to come. The bill's directive to the WSGC is to study loot boxes for the express purpose of regulating gambling mechanisms in video games.

The bill would require the Commission to produce the study by December, including their recommendations on how best to adopt and implement regulatory enforcement on the video game industry.

While the bill will be viewed as a significant threat to game producers, it takes a much more cautious and careful approach than similar proposals in other states. In Hawaii for example, state lawmakers introduced a bill that aims directly at stopping loot boxes and other micro-transactions in games.

Policymakers across the US and Europe began to address the loot box issue at the end of last year. It is likely that additional states and jurisdictions will start rolling out new regulations for the video game industry in the coming months.

Washington State, however, has a history of being proactive about gambling and corruption surrounding the video game industry. The state gaming commission was integral in tackling the skin betting debacle of 2016, ordering publisher Valve to put a stop to the CS:GO skin gambling market on Steam.

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