Let’s take a look what the Indonesian law says about the loot box system that has been highlighted for the past month. Is it gambling, a game, or undecided?
Star Wars: Battlefront 2‘s loot box system has been under scrutiny for the past month, not just from gamers but also from governments. Some concern about the loot box’s mechanism that closely assembles gambling.
So how about in Indonesia? As one of the most populous countries in the world, it also has lots of potentials in its gaming market.
For AAA games like Battlefront 2, Indonesian market might not be that significant, at least for now. But for mobile games, Indonesia is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in Southeast Asia. Mobile games that have loot box-like mechanism such as RNG or gacha will be in trouble if this kind of monetization is regarded as gambling.
So we turn to Ami Raditya, S.H.,M.Kn, a law observer, game enthusiast, and a Notary Public from East Java to clear things out. He is also the co-founder of IDEA Network, the media group of GamePrime.org.
So here is Ami Raditya’s take on loot box and gacha games in the eye of Indonesian law:
In Indonesia, gambling’s definition has been regulated in the Indonesian Book of Criminal Law Article 303. There are some elements that define gambling:
- There is hope of winning
- It is based on luck
- Incentive for the winner
- The chance of winning is higher if there is element of intelligence or agility
What is the example? Is football match a gambling activity because the winner gets a prize? Of course not, because it doesn’t fit the criteria above. The hope of winning is there but it’s not based on luck, there are many elements involved.
But if football fans betting on their teams and they get money or other prize when winning, it is counted as gambling because it checks all the elements above.
So in this case we have loot box, gacha, and RNG (random number generation), are they regarded as gambling?
In my opinion this goes into the gray area because it is very new. If you ask if they fulfill the elements of gambling, well it could.
So if we go back to the definition, “is there any hope or desire to win?”. But what is the condition of winning? It’s a grey area. It is true that loot box is pure luck, but is there any incentive or prize for the winner? Is getting an item considered a win, is not getting an item considered a loss? the question looms.
“The chance of winning is higher if there is element of intelligence or agility”, there is none of it. This is pure luck. But the definition of winning is still questionable, because the fact is in RNG or loot box we can always get something. Maybe it’s not the item or thing that we want, but we still get something.
Aside of that, the Book of Criminal Law is lex generalis or still general law. There are no detailed information about what activities regarded as gambling. If we want to look outside the general law, there are lex specialis law (special law) that we can take as reference to know more about gambling.
We can look at Act No.7 of 1974 about gambling control and Government Regulations No.9 of 1981 about execution of gambling control. In there we can see more definitions of gambling, lots of it. It mentions what kind of activities that are regarded as gambling, such as activities in casinos like roullette, black jack, pingpong, satan, slot machine, jackpot, and others. Also gambling in public like “lempar peser”, coin tossing, “pancingan”, cock fighting, bull fighting, and others.
There are some specific regulations that exclude some activities from gambling like from Act 1 letter C, if those activities included in religious ceremony and as long it’s not gambling. Maybe it means that if no betting included in it.
So the point is if we look at the definition that is written then it is clear that loot box and gacha is not included in gambling.
Players may feel unenthused by the way AAA games reaping money with microtransactions and DLC's. But players still buy them, increasingly from year to year.
If you ask me, I think it still in the grey area but I personally inclined to say that they are not gambling, at least in Indonesian positive law. Of course things can change because law is dynamic and always evolving. But for now, we can not categorize loot box and gacha as gambling.
Edited by Devi