Are loot boxes gambling?

(Neil M) #21

In away its almost like a learnt behaviour as in you are primed when you are an 11 year old and that continues forever.


I can’t comment on the wheel of “lose all your money”.

But where can I get trousers like that?!



I think there is a gambling block in place (I remember a robust discussion about the National Lottery). I think there is also a block on use on adult sites?

(Neil M) #24

What I wonder about are games where is perfectly legal to own and play for example Fortnite?


Doesn’t this fall under the “Clash Royale” type game though?

You can play the game for free, and you can pretty much do everything within it.

Anything you buy in the game, gives you something in return (something you can see before you buy it, which makes it a choice, not a gamble) - Be that a skin, a weapon or something else.

I don’t believe there are “mystery boxes” which are literally a pot luck gamble as to what you get in return.

Although, FWIW, I don’t like the fact that Fortnite is basically a subscription game, costing £8 per month for the “Battle Pass”, which you kind of need to compete.

(Neil M) #26

True, I wonder if I’m just differentiating between computer games and App games too much.
I don’t play Fortnight although i did some research and then revenue they were earning was just insane


I think it ultimately comes down to… “Do you know what you are getting?”

With a lot of IAP’s (both mobile and console), you know what you are buying.

The issues above relate to apps that offer a “mystery prize” - Where you don’t know what you are buying, but are lured in by the potential of it being amazing (it rarely is).

That’s the gamble.

(Neil M) #28

But does that change if the lootboxes probabilities are published? Which i know a couple of games have been forced to do?


Not in my eyes.

It’s no different to the probabilities of any fixed odds gambling.

You are paying for something that you can’t see, and have no idea if you’ll get what you want.

That for me is a gamble, and probably encourages the younger generation (and older), to consistently waste money in the hope that they’ll eventually win.

(Neil M) #30

Yeah I completely agree i’m just trying to think if there are any counter arguments to Monzo not thinking about implementing a block


Implementing block is difficult as it all goes through. Host like Google play, so unless transaction data could be adapted for if gambling related then not sure how. Whereas all gambling licenced businesses have to include in transaction that it is a gambling transaction.

It’s like buying alcohol in supermarkets, don’t think the transaction would highlight purchase when using card ?


Surely you’d just block in app purchases?


What about Spotify ? Health apps etc you often get via in app purchase?

(Neil M) #34

True I had a quick google and it is possible, I just wonder how that authentication works with Monzo? So you could just have that. but it would be a pain to do that every time. Does anyone have an example of what an in App purchase looks like from a gambling game in terms of transactions? Or is it possible to have a white list and Blacklist of games/Apps?


Those are a one time subscription though.

Turn it on, do what you need to do, turn it off.

I don’t think this is a challenge for Monzo so to speak, I think the challenge is to eradicate “loot boxes” from games, or make them 18+ if they aren’t already.

If people still can’t control themselves, you can set up “family sharing”, where you’d need permission from the account holder to download a game/perform the IAP.


A bit of blunt approach if you can’t control yourself, but not disagreeing overall

@NeilM it’s sent with the transaction as MCC code In the data.


Often sugar coating the words ends up with a misunderstanding.

Obviously I’m talking about those people who need help the most, and I actually think the way Apple does the “family sharing” is really good (not sure what there is on Android).

A vulnerable person has complete control over everything, but if they want to download an app/buy an IAP, a push notification is sent to the account holder (or sponsor in this case).

It feels like the solution is there, it just needs evolving for this scenario (rather than focussed on families).


Got you ! :slight_smile: Same thinking then!

(Neil M) #39

The only issue then is if you don’t have a sponsor who can it go to?

(Neil M) #40

I think I have a solution, I looked through one of the APIs for IAP
and i think there is the possibility of targeting a specific thing such as the in-game currency or whether its a consumable or not but I think I need to do more research but also I’m not sure how widely used this API is.