A ‘Loot box’ (or a ‘mystery box’) is a feature in video games that is accessed by players by in-game purchases using in-game currencies, purchased either with real money or earned in the games themselves. Through loot boxes players obtain items, the content of which is unknown before paying. Regulating loot boxes has been subject to discussions by legal and gaming professionals in recent years. Some have called for stricter EU-wide regulation to be imposed due to the potential harmful effects and use of exploitative practices, particularly in relation to minors
At the beginning of 2023 the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on online video games 1. The EP notes that in-game purchase systems should be compliant with existing rules under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive and its respective guidance. The resolution goes even further to call on the European Commission to: • take the necessary steps to bring about a European approach to loot boxes; • assess whether the current consumer law framework is sufficient to address the consumer law issues raised by loot boxes; and, if insufficient • present a legislative proposal to adapt the current EU consumer law framework for online video games or to present a stand-alone legislative proposal on online video gaming, which could even impose a ban on paid loot boxes to protect minors. Such measures could lead not only to a special European regulation on video gaming, but also to a restrictive regulation of loot boxes. Presently, gambling-related issues are under the competence of each EU Member state and are not subject to EU-wide regulation. Nonetheless, loot boxes could be addressed by the EU from a consumer protection angle instead – where the EU’s existing purview is far clearer. In view of the abovementioned resolution and lack of a common European approach on loot boxes, we decided to answer a few questions which should present the current situation around loot boxes across all Kinstellar EU jurisdictions and some of our non-EU locations. While no specific national laws to regulate loot boxes exist, the developments around gambling regulation should be monitored as loot boxes have already been discussed in the context o
There are no specific regulations governing loot boxes in Bulgaria. Although no explicit opinion has been issued by the gambling authority, it is likely that loot boxes do not constitute gambling, as they are unlikely to meet the requirements of the Bulgarian Gambling Act (e.g. a cash out requirement). However, it would depend on the type of loot boxes adopted by the particular video game and is therefore recommended to be considered on a case-by-case basis.