The man who described Star Wars: Battlefront II as a "Star Wars-themed online casino," Hawaiin representative, Chris Lee, is now gunning for the practice of loot boxes altogether. He's looking to get loot boxes and other in-game gambling mechanics banned in games entirely and he wants everyone opposed to the practice to help him do it.
In a video posted to Youtube he discusses the problem with these mechanics in games, especially those aimed at audiences younger than the minimum gambling age of 21. He also goes to so far as to cite some of the more insidious mechanisms at play, such as altering the odds of certain actions if a player is considered likely to spend more money, or hasn't purchased anything in a while to try and hook them in to spending more.
At the very least Lee wants to see that the odds of such gambling systems are made apparent to consumers, much in the way China has responded to the loot box phenomenon. At least then people are able to make an informed choice about what they're spending their money on.
"Unlike carnival games, collecting cards, or similar purchases of chance, videogames require active, lengthy participation during which consumers are exposed to psychological manipulation techniques which can result in real addiction and harm," he said (transcribed by PCGamer). "The scale and ease of access to these games make addressing these concerns critical. Casinos have long been criticized for building a business model around the exploitation of psychological vulnerabilities in many people. These business models are now being replicated by the online gaming industry to do the same, right on the phones and in the homes of countless families around the country."
He rejects calls for the industry to regulate itself, highlighting that ratings bodies and regulatory organizations have so far done little to curtail the practice and even defend it, suggesting that their revenue streams would be impacted by any heavy-handed action.
In short, he calls on everyone to contact their local representatives to have them join with Lee to prevent in-game gambling in the future.
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