Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing awareness of just how addictive gambling-esque loot boxes are to children and adults who play video games. This gaming mechanic has emerged as a highly addictive form of gambling that more and more jurisdictions are acknowledging. As recently reported, the UK is open to the possible regulation of loot boxes as its reviewing and updating their main regulatory backbone, theGambling Act 2005. As those review efforts are coming to a close, a new report draws a clear link between loot boxes and problem gambling. The Guardian reports:
Analysis revives calls for in-game rewards to be classed as betting products to protect children. Loot boxes, video game features used by nearly 40% of children, have clear links to problem gambling, according to a study that has reignited calls for them to be regulated as betting products.
Researchers analysed 13 studies into the behaviour of gamers who spend on loot boxes which allow players to spend money on randomised in-game rewards that can aid players’ progress or enhance the appearance of characters, without knowing what they will get. All but one of the studies showed a clear correlation between the use of loot boxes and problem gambling behaviour, under the commonly-used Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) measure.
They were “structurally and psychologically akin” to gambling, the report found, yet are used by nearly half of children who play video games. Approximately 5% of loot box users generate half of the £700m that video games companies make from them each year and about a third of that group are problem gamblers, the report says.
This group contends that this analysis should be heavily considered by lawmakers when deciding which gambling regulations can best help the public. The Guardian continues:
GambleAware, the leading gambling charity that commissioned the report,
also backed tighter regulation. “[…] We are increasingly concerned that gambling is now part of everyday life for children and young people,” said the chief executive Zoë Osmond. “GambleAware funded this research to highlight concerns around loot boxes and problem gambling, ahead of the upcoming Gambling Act review.
Researchers from the Universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton, who wrote the report, called for clear labelling and age-rating for loot boxes, as well as disclosure of odds, tools to limit spending voluntarily and prices in real currency.
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