Loot Boxes: Regulation & Licensing


The gaming industry has undergone transformative changes over the years, introducing novel monetisation strategies that have revolutionised how content is consumed and paid for. Among these, loot boxes have emerged as a particularly innovative, yet controversial, method of monetisation. These digital containers can be purchased or earned within video games, offering players randomised assortments of virtual items, ranging from cosmetic enhancements to game-changing equipment. The fundamental attribute of loot boxes—their reliance on chance—has ignited a widespread debate concerning their classification as gambling products and the subsequent regulatory implications. This article delves into the intricate legal landscape surrounding loot boxes, examining the global regulatory framework, the challenges and considerations for gaming companies, and the comprehensive legal services provided by Chambers & Co to navigate these complexities.

Global Regulatory Landscape

The legal perspective on loot boxes varies markedly across different jurisdictions, reflecting a global patchwork of regulatory responses. In some countries, loot boxes have been squarely classified under gambling legislation, drawing parallels to traditional forms of betting due to their chance-based outcomes. This classification necessitates that game developers and publishers obtain appropriate gambling licenses to legally include loot boxes in their games within those jurisdictions. Notably, Belgium and the Netherlands have taken firm stances by enforcing such regulations, thereby setting precedents that could influence other regulatory regimes.

Conversely, other jurisdictions maintain that loot boxes do not meet the legal definition of gambling and, therefore, fall outside the purview of gambling commissions. However, recognising the potential risks associated with addiction and significant financial expenditure, these regions may still implement consumer protection laws specifically targeting loot boxes. For instance, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission has indicated that where loot boxes allow for prizes to be traded and converted into money or money’s worth, they could then be classified as gambling.

Licensing and Corporate Structure

For gaming companies that incorporate loot boxes into their products, the legal terrain necessitates a nuanced understanding of each jurisdiction’s specific regulations. This complex legal framework may require companies to:

  • Obtain gambling licenses in jurisdictions where loot boxes are categorised as gambling. This process involves navigating the local gambling commission’s licensing requirements, which can vary significantly in terms of complexity and cost.
  • Adapt their corporate structures to align with international gaming laws. This could entail establishing subsidiaries in countries with legal frameworks more amenable to loot boxes, thereby mitigating regulatory risks and leveraging favourable conditions.
  • Implement a range of consumer protection measures designed to address regulatory concerns and enhance player welfare. These measures might include transparent disclosure of loot box odds, setting spending limits to prevent excessive expenditure, and enforcing age restrictions to protect younger players.

Chambers & Co Legal Services

At Chambers & Co, our expertise in the gaming industry’s legal landscape positions us as a pivotal partner for companies navigating the complexities of loot box regulation. Our specialised services encompass:

  • Regulatory Compliance: We offer in-depth guidance on understanding and adhering to the diverse regulatory landscape governing loot boxes worldwide, ensuring that gaming companies remain compliant across different jurisdictions.
  • Licensing Support: Our team provides comprehensive assistance throughout the process of obtaining the necessary gambling licenses for jurisdictions that classify loot boxes under gambling law, facilitating a smoother navigation of the regulatory environment.
  • Corporate Structure Advisory: We advise on devising and implementing optimal corporate structures that navigate the intricacies of international legal frameworks, enabling gaming companies to operate efficiently and compliantly on a global scale.
  • Consumer Protection Strategies: Recognising the importance of consumer trust and regulatory compliance, we help companies implement effective consumer protection measures. These strategies not only comply with legal requirements but also contribute to fostering a positive and sustainable gaming ecosystem.


The evolving legal discourse surrounding loot boxes presents a multifaceted challenge for the gaming industry, marked by legal, ethical, and consumer protection considerations. As jurisdictions worldwide continue to scrutinise and evolve their regulatory approaches, the importance of proactive legal planning and compliance cannot be overstated. Chambers & Co is dedicated to providing the gaming industry with the legal expertise and strategic advice necessary to navigate this complex landscape successfully. By staying informed of legal developments and embracing a forward-thinking approach to compliance and consumer protection, gaming companies can not only mitigate risks but also seize the opportunities presented in this dynamic sector.