Thursday, 28 June 2018
Environment and Communications References Committee; Reference
That the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for inquiry and report by 17 September 2018:
The extent to which gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items, sometimes referred to as 'loot boxes', may be harmful, with particular reference to:
(a) whether the purchase of chance-based items, combined with the ability to monetise these items on third-party platforms, constitutes a form of gambling; and
(b) the adequacy of the current consumer protection and regulatory framework for in-game micro transactions for chance-based items, including international comparisons, age requirements and disclosure of odds.
Labor supports this motion. Labor acknowledges there is some community debate and concern that the 'loot box' feature can normalise spending behaviour in a gaming context and potentially act as a precursor to problem gambling behaviour. Labor notes the research into the impacts on young people of gambling-like elements in games and simulated gambling in its early stages. A recent study suggests that, for some children, playing social casino games leads to an increase in gambling activity while for other children it can reduce their interest in real gambling. Finally, Labor acknowledges that this is an area that may benefit from clarification around potential harms, regulatory definitions and responsibilities in the current consumer protection and regulatory framework.
Question agreed to.