When you exchange money for something and it’s understood by both parties that you are getting a specific item, that’s a purchase.
When you exchange money for a chance at something, that’s called gambling.
This proliferation of lockboxes that can only be opened by exchanging real money is gambling. I know the US prohibits online gambling as it’s the easiest way to launder money. I am astounded that companies that offer this feature, without an in-game option, haven’t yet been brought to court.
I’ve studied enough math to know that gambling is a tax on the mathematically inept. If you gamble TO make money, you’re delusional (or a prodigy and lucky). If you gamble as a passtime, with the same budget as others (say a round of golf), then that’s quite a bit different. Sadly, there are more in the first bucket than the second.
Little fact for you. The odds of winning that $500 million PowerBall were higher than getting killed by a vending machine trying to coax the chips out.