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Singapore's new Gambling Regulatory Authority will be looking into online loot boxes

By Kenneth Ang - on 17 Aug 2022, 2:57pm

Singapore's new Gambling Regulatory Authority will be looking into online loot boxes

Image: Unsplash

According to a report done up by The Straits Times yesterday (thanks!), Singapore has officially inaugurated its new Gambling Regulatory Authority, or GRA for short. This new government body, which takes over from the existing Casino Regulatory Authority, will oversee a much wider range of betting platforms, services, and accompanying issues than its predecessor, which primarily focused on operations within our two Integrated Resorts. 

Needless to say, this "wider range" of regulation includes the problem posed by online loot boxes as well. 

While the GRA has not proposed any immediate changes to what developers and publishers can offer through in-game loot box mechanics, a spokesman for the government body has noted that it might implement a S$100 cap on loot boxes as early as next year. The inauguration as a whole has, quite understandably been championed by social service organisations and parents alike, and it's easy to see why.

After all, most of us today are familiar with cases where children spend wantonly on online loot boxes without knowing their full implications, to say nothing of those where adults are the ones forking out the dough. Regardless of who ends up spending whose money, and how much, the key issue that the GRA aims to tackle is the "normalisation" of gambling due to the convenience that technology affords us today. Notably, this is especially crucial when it comes to children and the youth demographic, as these mechanics can foster unhealthy attitudes towards gambling down the line. 

Of course, it remains to be seen exactly how harshly the GRA will crack down on loot boxes, and by extension, how it might affect Singapore's attractiveness to app developers down the line from a purely economic standpoint. Frankly, the communal benefits to be had from implementing a S$100 cap are certainly undeniable, but at the end of the day, instilling the individual with proper financial literacy skills remains the biggest cog in the machine.

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