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.
Back when I had to take a couple of law related classes in college, gambling was defined, in general, as having three aspects:
-Consideration – You have to pay something in order to participate
-Prize – You get something of value if you win
-Chance – There is an element of luck which may keep you from getting a prize
MMO companies generally skirt this issue by offering up a prize of some value with every lockbox. STO always gives you some prize, though it may not be the one you want, while EQII offers up some tokens as an alternate prize that you can save up to buy something else.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think the whole lockbox idea is pretty odious. They are clearly skirting the spirit of the law while trying to stay within the letter.
True enough. Obviously they work though, since games are still using the mechanic.