The Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB) has stated publically that loot boxes does not fulfill its criteria for using gambling as a game descriptor.
“ESRB does not consider loot boxes to be gambling,” a spokesperson for the organization told IGN. The rest of the company’s statement reads:
“While there’s an element of chance in these mechanics, the player is always guaranteed to receive in-game content (even if the player unfortunately receives something they don’t want). We think of it as a similar principle to collectible card games: Sometimes you’ll open a pack and get a brand new holographic card you’ve had your eye on for a while. But other times you’ll end up with a pack of cards you already have.
“Should there be any gambling or gambling related mechanics in a game, ESRB assigns one of two content descriptors as part of the rating: “Simulated Gambling” (player can simulate gambling without betting or wagering real cash or currency) and “Real Gambling” (player can actually gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency). If there is any real gambling in a game or app it will always receive an Adults Only rating.”