Electronic Arts class-action suit — are loot boxes gambling or gaming?


On June 12 in the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, two separate class-action suits were brought against Google, LLC, as well as, Apple, Inc.

The July 12 filings both cited California legislation Cal. B & P Code § 19801(c) which states: “Gambling can become addictive and is not an activity to be promoted or legitimized as entertainment for children and families.” 

Google and Apple both receive a part of the proceeds from in-app loot boxes in games sold or offered free through “Google Play” and the Apple “App Store.”

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The lawsuits claim that these profits are made with “predatory practices enticing consumers, including children to engage in gambling and similar addictive conduct in violation of this and other laws designed to protect consumers and to prohibit such practices.”

Loot boxes: Millions played and billions made

Loot boxes are in-game rewards that contain a random assortment of virtual items. These items usually assist players in advancing in the online game. They may also be items that customize the player’s game dashboard, or avatar.