If Loot Boxes Are Considered Gambling, Then Pokémon Cards Should Be Too

Loot boxes require players to spend money with the hope that they'll find something rare, shiny, or powerful inside. Sound familiar?

Governments around the world are debating whether to declare loot boxes a form of gambling right now, but what about Pokémon cards and other booster packs?

Loot boxes have become one of gaming's most controversial mechanics. Games that feature loot boxes are offering up a game of chance to its players. Pay for loot boxes and potentially land a character or an item that will increase your ability to perform in-game. The reason that is so controversial? Some believe it to be a form of gambling, but in most parts of the world, the mechanic is not classified as such.

While officials around the world continue to mull the decision over, some countries have already pulled the trigger. Belgium, for example, has already deemed the purchase of loot boxes to be a form of gambling and subsequently banned them. As this argument has rolled on, we thought back to our childhoods, a time free of loot boxes.

Or was it? The term loot box has been coined for its most recent form, but they have technically existed for years in the form of Pokémon cards. Packs on which people could potentially spend a lot of money in the hope that one or more of those packs will contain something rare, or a card that will greatly aid us battle our friends. Sound familiar?

We don't recall anyone calling for Pokémon cards to be banned during the late '90s, at least not on a national scale. Yes, some schools banned them due to kids getting into arguments over them, and our parents probably would have liked to see them disappear. However, there was no hint of anyone thinking they were basically a form of gambling that was marketed towards children.

Some might argue it was a sign of the times, but Pokémon cards are still around today and are still extremely popular. Yet as far as we know, they haven't even been mentioned during any of the endless arguments about the reclassification of loot boxes. It isn't just Pokémon, of course. There are a number of similar tabletop and trading card games that bank on its players buying booster packs in the hope that they will contain something worth their while. Anyone who deems loot boxes as a form of gambling must also include Pokémon cards, the original loot box, under that definition.