Police report made against retailer that sold S$6 mystery boxes at Comex

Is it gambling?

Belmont Lay | September 16, 2022, 11:33 AM

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The Singapore police confirmed that a report has been lodged against The Auction House, the retailer that was selling so-called unclaimed parcels containing "mystery" items for S$6 at Comex, which took place from Sep. 1 to 4.

Investigations are ongoing.

The Straits Times reported that the actions of the retailer may be illegal if it is found to have been selling mystery boxes, which are currently prohibited in Singapore.

Comex is one of the largest tech shows held in Singapore yearly.

Videos put up by The Auction House showed large numbers of buyers of the mystery boxes.

The Auction House's founder Melissa Wix was seen on site promoting the sale on livestream video by revealing some of the contents of the parcels.
But prices of these items, such as massagers and flasks, were not listed or mentioned.

Why mystery boxes illegal?

Mystery boxes have not been formally defined yet under Singapore law, ST reported, indicating that such a sale could be operating in a legally grey area currently.

But these parcels that have their contents hidden do contain items that may be of a higher value than what consumers would normally pay for them.

The Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) had previously announced it intends to regulate mystery boxes and introduce safeguards, such as a S$100 cap.

Is it gambling?

Previously, vending machines offering mystery prizes were already deemed illegal in August 2018.

The issue with the vending machines was with the way the goods were being sold, as they were concealed.

Academics and a lawyer that ST spoke to provided different takes.

The academics said mystery boxes can be regulated as they are fun and can be used for marketing purposes.

The lawyer said mystery boxes are not defined in the Gambling Control Act but this incident would still constitute a game of chance.

Top photos via The Auction House Facebook