battlefront 2
'Star Wars Battlefront II' is out on PS4, Xbox One and PC. EA

The paid loot box controversy surrounding Star Wars Battlefront II is nearly as convoluted and lengthy as the Star Wars franchise itself. After a minor stock price drop over the weekend following the game’s official release, players and critics are still criticizing the game’s lengthy, loot box-centered progression system. The saga continues this week as multiple governments have weighed in on the ethics of such a system.

Representatives from Hawaii’s state legislature are considering using their authority to ban the sale of Star Wars Battlefront II to minors, Rolling Stone reports. The idea is that Star Wars Battlefront II ’s random loot boxes, when sold for real money and combined with “pay-to-win” gameplay incentives, are tantamount to gambling in a product marketed towards children.

Hawaii state representative Chris Lee elaborated his position in a press conference, where he did not mince words.

"We are here today to ensure future protection to kids, youth and everyone when it comes to the spread of predatory practices in online ingredients and the significant financial consequences it can have on families and has been having on families of this nation,” Lee said. “This game is a Star Wars themed online casino designed to lure kids into spending money.”

Lee also said he has spoken with lawmakers in other states about similar measures, though he did not name names.

Somewhat shockingly, Hawaii’s state government is not the only legislative body with its sights set on Star Wars Battlefront II . Belgium’s Gaming Commission is also looking into the matter, though as PC Gamer reports, no firm conclusion has been reached just yet. It is worth noting that, while Star Wars Battlefront II is at the center of the current controversy, the Belgium report also mentions the cosmetics-only loot boxes present in Blizzard’s popular multiplayer shooter Overwatch .

The timing of these government investigations specifically regarding Star Wars Battlefront II is curious, as publisher Electronic Arts temporarily shut off the in-game microtransaction system last week. EA promised the system would come back at some point, but only after the game is “fixed” and offered no timetable on getting to that point. At this moment in time, Hawaii and Belgium are investigating the equivalent of a casino with all the slot machines and craps tables shut down.

The potential ramifications for EA and other video game publishers are serious if any government body in a major market deems paid loot boxes to be gambling and, consequently, unsuitable for products sold to minors. Obviously, publishers would have to find another way to generate the profits that would be lost in the banning of loot boxes, so it is unlikely that we would go back to the way things were before and call it a day.

Ultimately, it will come down to the legal definitions of gambling in different states and countries. In the United States, for example, it hinges upon the idea that “something of value” is at stake in the process. “Something of value,” of course, is a completely subjective term, and whether or not virtual Star Wars goodies count will be up to the courts.