Within the gaming community there is a big debate whether loot boxes are the same as gambling. First, let take a look at what each is defined as. Loot boxes are defined, according to Wikipedia (best definition I could find) as a consumable virtual item which can be redeemed to receive a randomized selection of further virtual items, or loot, ranging from simple customization options for a player’s avatar or character to game-changing equipment such as weapons and armor. Gambling, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is defined as to play a game for money or property, to bet on an uncertain outcome. Based on these definitions, loot boxes and gambling are not the same thing.
When people gamble at a casino, there is no guarantee that they will win. If you play the slot machines in a casino, you have to place a certain amount of coins which you purchase with real money. You pull the level and hope that you win something, if you don’t, that’s money lost. When you buy a loot box in a video game store, if the video game has them, you are always guaranteed an item even if it’s not your money’s worth. The thing is you still get something in return unlike when you gamble. Also, gamers should know that all of this is a choice. You don’t have to do any of these things but you do it because you want to, not because you are forced to. For example, Rockstar Games just included an actual virtual casino to their Grand Theft Auto V online game that simulates actual gambling. So, what is worse a game that has loot boxes where you always get something for your money or real life gambling where you don’t always get something for your money? They are not the same thing.