Streamer Asmongold discusses microtransatcions, gambling in games with sen. Ted Cruz
Twitch streamer Asmongold said in one of his recent live streams that he had reached out to some United States government officials, including senator Ted Cruz, regarding his concerns about microtransactions and gambling in video games.
The streamer’s attempt was made following a clip that surfaced online earlier this month where Cruz was seen in one of the episodes of an hour-long television program Poker After Dark alongside Twitch streamers Alexandra Botez and MrBeast.
Asmongold said that he had “made contact with Ted Cruz’s office” and the senator himself about the issue. However, he also said that he was uncertain whether the move would make any progress.
Asmongold says microtransactions lure kids into gambling
Asmongold is one of the internet personalities that have strong opinions against microtransactions and gambling in video games, fearing that such gaming systems may indoctrinate kids into gambling.
One of the solutions he offered was by “selling” microtransactions and loot boxes to “religious Republican people” as gambling. Asmongold strongly was adamant that this would help him with the case and potentially set forth a policy change.
“I think that I can get a lot of religious Republican people on board with this by selling it as gambling, because it is,” Asmongold said. “You’re effectively indoctrinating kids into gambling. I don’t know man, I don’t know either but I really wanna try and do it. I’m actually going to try to do this.”
After the episode of Poker After Dark surfaced online, Cruz provided his response behind his appearance on the program, saying the charity poker game was “ridiculous fun”.
The main reason the Twitch streamer reached out to Cruz before other senators was likely due to the fact that the politician is a senator from Texas, Asmongold’s home state. Prior to bringing up his concerns about gambling in video games, Asmongold also discussed Cruz’s views of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Microtransactions, loot boxes regulations in video games
The U.S. is not lacking in regulations related to exposing minors to gambling in video games. However, if compared to other countries in Europe, Uncle Sam has been moving at a snail’s pace. In 2018, Belgium declared loot boxes illegal under its gambling laws. Publishers will be fined €800,000 should they fail to comply. The amount is double if minors are exposed to loot boxes.
In 2019, Missouri Republican senator Josh Hawley introduced a regulation that would not only regulate but outright ban microtransactions and sales of loot boxes in video games marketed to minors. Since then, the bill has not even progressed far beyond its introductory phase.
Aside from Belgium, the Netherlands also holds similar views towards gambling in video games, and reportedly, Brazil is considering banning loot boxes, joining the two European countries.
The role of microtransactions and loot boxes in video games has been growing tremendously throughout the year. In mobile gaming, for example, the gacha mechanics are almost always present in the majority of mobile gaming, with the most prominent being Genshin Impact and Raid: Shadow Legends.
On the other hand, PC gaming giant Blizzard was rumored to have planned to remove loot boxes in its new shooter title Overwatch 2. A similar move can be seen in 343 Industries’ Halo Infinite, where players witnessed the absence of loot boxes.