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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, recently introduced the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Loot Boxes) Bill 2022, which introduces mandatory classifications for video games with gambling type features. The Bill was seconded by the LNP Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace.

“A loot box is a video game feature where players pay to chance their luck at winning additional virtual assets to use during the game,” Mr Wilkie said. “This is gambling by any definition and is routinely being experienced by children and adolescents right around Australia. No wonder gambling companies are buying up online gaming companies.

“It’s widely acknowledged that the risk-versus-reward nature of loot boxes essentially sets young people up for future gambling addiction. The way in which the mechanism entices young people to keep coming back with desirable items is akin to the relationship between a gambler and a poker machine. It’s obvious that young people who are spending a lot of money on these games are being groomed for future gambling.

“This Bill ensures that children and young people are protected from gambling like features within video, computer and online games. Loot boxes are present in so many of the most popular games – from Star Wars and Call of Duty to FIFA and Mario Kart. Many parents would not even be aware their children are exposed to these kinds of gambling features, some of which directly mimic poker machines or casino games.

“The Bill requires the Classification Board to classify any game with loot boxes as R18+ or RC. It also requires clear labelling to be present so parents and guardians know when their children are exposed to these features.”