The German gambling regulator has called on the federal states to “intensively examine” all aspects of loot boxes as it looks to form “comprehensive legal regulations” on the activity.


The Joint Gaming Authority of the States said the classification of loot boxes as gambling "only represents part of the discussion.”

“It must also be assessed what options there are for action by the responsible child and youth protection authorities,” the GGL said.

Loot boxes are primarily found in video games, including those aimed at children and younger age groups. Bought using either in-game money or real money, the boxes contain randomised items that can be used to enhance the gaming experience.

However, players do not know the contents of each loot box until it is opened. Players are able to fund in-game money accounts with corresponding real-money amounts.

Regulators across the world have taken notice of the potential for the lines to be blurred between video gaming and gambling, especially with children the chief target audience of many games offering loot boxes.

The GGL therefore held a workshop on loot boxes at the end of February with Professor Martin Maties of the University of Augsburg and head of the research centre for esports law.

“The aim of the event was to advance the assessment of loot boxes under gambling law and to shed light on all legal arguments in this border area between gaming and gambling,” the GGL said.

“The results of the workshop form a solid basis for the further decision-making process. The GGL is planning to organize further expert events together with the federal states.”