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GTA's casino isn't the worst of gambling in games - but it puts it in perspective

Apologise, gambling definition conjurer
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Gambling games cosmetics reviews

Postby Shamuro В» 06.03.2020

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This week, the UK's Gambling Commission confirmed to a parliamentary enquiry that loot boxes, FIFA player packs and the like do not constitute gambling under UK law, since there is no official way to cash out your winnings from these blind reward packs. The player, skin or card you might win from a blind pack doesn't have monetary value - officially - so rolling the dice on 'packing' it isn't gambling, even if you paid real money for the privilege. There are no semantics to be unpicked here: it is a straight-up depiction of gambling, and since GTA Online's in-game currency is for sale more-or-less directly in the form of Shark Cards, you can buy in with real money.

But once again, you can't cash out - officially. So, at least as far as UK law would have it, it isn't gambling. It was hardly a shock move from Rockstar, which already allowed players to wager on games of poker in Red Dead Online. It was, you might argue, unhelpful timing for an industry that is under renewed scrutiny from Parliament - and other bodies worldwide - for the playing and spending habits it encourages, particularly in children.

But Rockstar is no stranger to such controversy and often courts it. It suits the developer's bad-boy image - not to mention the glossy gangster fiction of GTA.

And anyway, the law is on its side. This isn't the case everywhere. Lawmakers and regulators in Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere have ruled loot boxes to be a form of gambling. In such countries, players are reporting that Rockstar has circumvented legal challenge by deactivating the casino games, as they already did for poker in Red Dead Online.

If the route to anything resembling gambling is locked off, then it can legitimately keep selling Shark Cards - for which, unlike FIFA Coins, there are many other uses. I worry a lot about the prevalence of gambling elements in current video games.

They are everywhere you look, from mobile puzzle games to online role-playing games and huge console licenses like FIFA. Even when you can't cash out, the value players attach to their in-game items, avatars and progress - not to mention to social prestige in online games - is such that these mechanics can quickly lead to addictive play habits that can be colossally expensive, not great for mental health, and not all that fun.

There's the possibility of these games acting as a gateway activity to real gambling, too, and obviously that is of most concern when it comes to children, who can't gamble legally. So GTA's brazen entry into this fray is, on one level, a bit scary. But there are actually a few things about Rockstar's approach that I respect - or at any rate, that I find less worrying than the boundary-blurring going on elsewhere.

First, it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is - gambling, or at least a simulacrum of it. It's not dressed up like some nostalgic sticker-book collection or capsule toy machine; it's not garlanded with showy crate-opening animations.

It's blackjack and slot machines and roulette and the strictly seedy glamour of the real-life casino. Second, it's a sideshow. Whilst you can argue that it plays directly into the main goal of GTA Online - the accumulation of wealth - it's certainly not the only way to go about it. Nor is it the only way to acquire cosmetic bragging rights; nor is its real-money gambling locked into core game mechanics. That sets it apart from the likes of FIFA in particular, where gambling on opening packs is central to getting better players for your Ultimate Team squad.

Third, and maybe most importantly, it is at least nominally age-appropriate. GTA5 is an rated game. Gambling is, in most countries, legal among adults; it's legal for overs in the UK. It seems fair enough to simulate gambling or use gambling mechanics in a game aimed at people who can gamble legally in the real world. But the case of the GTA casino also sheds light on a couple of legal grey areas that muddle the debate about gambling in video games, and make UK regulators, lawmakers and the games industry all look like they're sticking their heads in the sand.

Firstly, you can cash out. Of course you can. It takes a moment's Googling to find a grey market where you can convert GTA dollars back into real money.

The same for FIFA coins. If you think loot box systems that aren't linked to a virtual currency are immune to this, take a moment to read about the skin betting trade that exists on the fringes of such games, particularly Counter-Strike. MPs should consider whether leaving the games industry to clean out its own back alley is really enough. But it has done so with something of a shrug, pointing out that, according to the law, it is outside the Commission's purview. MPs should consider whether leaving it to the games industry to clean out its own back alley is really enough when children are being sucked into gambling through video games.

The shortcut through this problem, taken by Belgium and others, is simply to remove cashing out from the legal definition of gambling. It's quite an extreme step, but it's not unwarranted. Secondly - and this is an age-old complaint that haunted the debate around violence in video games, long before the one around gambling - age ratings are not enforced, or even taken remotely seriously, by most retailers or by parents.

GTA is an rated game but it is certainly marketed directly at younger players. It isn't enough - it never has been - for the industry to wave its hands and say it's not its fault if ratings aren't heeded. It needs to do more to protect younger players. You know what would focus minds on the issue? If the legal definition of gambling were expanded to include loot boxes, and as a result every game with loot boxes or other forms of expenditure and chance were subject to an 18 rating that, you could be sure, would be much more strictly applied.

Wouldn't that be something? Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here. Jump to comments Oli is the editor of Eurogamer. His friends call him The European, but that's just a coincidence.

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Re: gambling games cosmetics reviews

Postby Mazusar В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Zulkiramar В» 06.03.2020

Get stuff, but not what you really want! Archived from the original on February 20, Archived from the original on May 4, Retrieved February 15, His friends call him The European, but that's just a coincidence.

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Re: gambling games cosmetics reviews

Postby Yozshujar В» 06.03.2020

Archived from click at this page original on January 11, Tech Times. Even when you can't cash out, the value players attach to their in-game items, avatars and progress - not to mention gambling social prestige reviews online games - cosmetics such games these mechanics can quickly lead to addictive play habits that can be colossally expensive, not great for mental health, and not all that fun. So GTA's brazen entry into this fray is, on one level, a bit scary.

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Postby Sazragore В» 06.03.2020

Archived from the original on January 9, Retrieved June 20, Second, it's a sideshow. Retrieved May 3, Johnson also stated that Valve has this web page business relationships with these sites, and will pursue legal action if they continue to violate their service terms.

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Postby Melrajas В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Nikot В» 06.03.2020

Archived from the original on December 11, It gmes a moment's Googling to find a grey market where you can convert GTA dollars back into real money. Retrieved December 18, It seems fair enough to simulate gambling or use games fulfilled life mechanics in a game aimed at people who can gamble legally in the real world.

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Postby Kezilkree В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Tem В» 06.03.2020

Retrieved December 18, It isn't enough - it never has been - for the industry to wave its hands and say it's not its fault if ratings aren't heeded. Because of the rarity and other qualities, certain skins became highly sought-after by players.

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Postby Nekazahn В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Voodooran В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Aralmaran В» 06.03.2020

Tech Times. Retrieved July 25, So, at least as far as UK law would have it, it isn't gambling.

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Postby Zulunos В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Nikoktilar В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Faugal В» 06.03.2020

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Postby Banris В» 06.03.2020

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