New Zealand’s Department for Internal Affairs has ruled that loot boxes don’t constitute gambling.
Gamasutra reached out to the New Zealand agency, and received an email in response from the department’s licensing compliance manager Trish Millward. "While the payment of money for a loot box with the contents of which are determined by chance many appear to be gambling," writes Millward, "the department is of the view that loot boxes to not meet the legal definition of gambling."
Millward mentions that will this is the department’s official stance, it will "continue to follow the international discussion around loot boxes." However, Millward mentions that it’s not illegal for New Zealanders to gamble with overseas providers, making it unsure what they would be able to do even if they ruled that it was gambling, as very few video game companies call New Zealand home.
It’s unsure whether this will pour metaphorical gasoline on the flames of the loot box debate, but after gamers around the world praise Belgium for their denouncement of loot boxes, it’s hard to know what will happen next. However, things continue to get increasingly awkward for developers and publishers, who find themselves in the ironic position of paying a lot of money and being left unsure of exactly what they’ll receive.