Chris Lee, the Democratic State Representative for Hawii, made waves in November after promising to create legislation that would ban the sale of games with loot boxes to those under 21.
Now, the representative has submitted two pairs of bills to the US Senate and House. The bills, introduced last month, target the sale of games with loot boxes to players under 21, and the fact that they don’t clearly indicate the odds of winning the various items.
Hawaii Tribune Herald reports that House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024 propose to prevent the sale of any game with randomised rewards that players can purchase with real money to anyone younger than 21 years-old.
House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025, on the other hand, would require publishers to clearly label games with randomised loot boxes purchasable with real money, and reveal the probability for getting each item included in their loot boxes.
Rep. Chris Lee said that more than half of US states are looking into similar legislation. “If enough of the market reacts, the industry would have to respond and change its practices,” said Lee.
“Whistleblowers have revealed that psychologists are employed to create these mechanisms,” he added, reiterating that there needs to be an authority to force publishers to “disclose their practices.”
According to the US legislative system, proposed bills get assigned to a committee to make adjustments as necessary. The amended version then goes to a vote in the House, if it passes, it moves to the Senate. Another committee examines the bill in the Senate before it’s voted on again.
Finally, a third committee made up of both House and Senate members must agree on one version of the bill, which is then sent back to both the House and Senate for final approval. After it passes, the President must either sign or veto the bill within ten days.
How long it takes for these steps to be completed largely depends on the number of sponsors each bill has.
Should these bills pass, retailers will be required to only sell games with loot boxes to customers with an ID. Publishers already can’t sell Mature-rated games to anyone under 17, but this could decrease the potential market even further for some of these games.