Disclose Odds of Digital Lotteries

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Currently in the United States, gamers, many of whom are children and adolescents, are being targeted by video game publishers using a predatory business practice that promotes gambling: Loot Boxes.

In a Loot Box system, players pay money for a chance to get what they want rather than being able to purchases items directly. Video game publishers are currently not even required to disclose the odds of getting items. They further hide the true costs by the introduction of intermediary currencies. This is done in a deliberate attempt to confuse consumers and conceal pertinent information from them (such as how much money they will likely need to spend to get what they want).

In the US, sweepstakes and lotteries disclose their odds... and yet there is no requirement for these games of chance to do so, DESPITE being targeted largely at youths.

Two rules are needed here:

1) Odds must be disclosed for any item that can be gained through the use of real money. If you can buy a chance at it, the consumer should know how high, or how low, the chance is. The disclosure should be prominent in-game. This is basic information, and it should be the consumer's right to know.

2) There should be no intermediary currency for items that can be bought with real money. If you can buy it with cash, the price should be given in dollars and cents. No hiding the prices. Once again, this is basic information. It should be the consumer's right to know. And they should have the right to know easily, without any digging around.

Neither of these rules is particularly harsh; rather, they simply bring the video game industry in-line with currently extant laws.

If simply telling people the odds (and expected cost) of getting what they want actually are would sink this business model, should it exist in the first place?



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