The Church of England has once again warned that addictive computer games could have serious consequences on children. Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans, has explained that gambling operators were offering games with a harmful product that could be dangerous for children’s lives.
That is exactly why he has been urging the British Government to ban the sale of content which includes the sale of so-called loot boxes and other in-game features, describing them as a “gateway to gambling”. The warning of Dr Alan Smith comes after the Culture Select Committee has recently explained there is a loophole in UK gambling laws which allows game developers to sell content involving loot boxes to be sold.
As Casino Guardian reported, after an investigation into addictive technologies was held, Members of Parliament called for the competent authorities to label games containing loot boxes gambling and rate such content over 18.
The Bishop of St Albans, who is the main spokesman on gambling of the Church of England, has once again emphasized on the fact that the committee’s report highlights that games which offer so-called loot boxes are turning children’s games and entertainment into a gateway to gambling. He welcomed the clarification made by the report in terms of potential harm which gaming could pose, in line with the position which the World Health Organisation has unveiled on Gaming Disorders, and reminded that it had called for urgent action by the Government.
UKIE Backs Committee’s Report Findings Unlike ESA Which Shares Strong Disagreement
The recent findings of the committee have seen the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) react positively to the findings revealed by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which has blamed loot boxes in video games for being addictive to most vulnerable society members.
In response to the revelations made in the report, UKIE released a statement in support of the Committee’s efforts to increase so-called “digital literacy”. The Association also welcomed the recognition of good practise which already exists in the British gambling industry and backed the findings that the system needs to be reviewed. According to UKIE, some changes have already been made in this direction, with technology evolving and the ongoing system being continually reviewed.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) also responded to the findings of the DCMS’ Committee, but it shared strong disagreement with the report. According to the Association, the video game industry is one of the leaders in partnering with players to create high-quality gaming experience, while a large number of regulatory bodies around the world, including the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany and France, have come to a different conclusion than the one presented by the Committee.
So far, there have been countries which have not described loot boxes as a type of gambling but that does not mean that loot boxes should be left unregulated.