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​New Report Suggests Video Game Loot Boxes Are A Gateway To Gambling

​New Report Suggests Video Game Loot Boxes Are A Gateway To Gambling

A conerning study suggests there's a link between child gambling and video game loot boxes. This is despite recent action from PEGI which attempts to tackle issues surrounding the latter.

As reported by the BBC, the Gambling Commission says around 450,000 children in the UK bet regularly, with methods like slot machines, scratchcards, or gambling with friends being the most popular.

Thirty nine percent of 11 to 16 year olds admitted to gambling in the UK within the past 12 months, with some owning up to using parents' betting accounts, or entering bookies where the minimum age is 18 years.

Video game loot boxes could be opening doors to real life gambling.
Video game loot boxes could be opening doors to real life gambling.
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The Gambling Commission also said that around one million youngsters have been exposed to gambling thanks to loot boxes in various video games and smartphone apps.

We've previously reported on issues regarding virtual loot boxes and gambling, especially with titles such as FIFA and Overwatch, as they require users to pay real-world money for something that's only revealed after purchasing.

EA even found itself in a spot of bother with the Belgium Government - who've banned loot boxes all together - because it reckons FIFA Ultimate Team packs are the equivalent of buying football stickers, so they weren't removed from FIFA 19.

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However, the Australian Environment and Communications Reference Committee [via VG247] says it's typical for industry statements to "disassociate loot boxes from gambling. They instead highlight similarities between loot boxes and harmless products like trading cards or Kinder Surprise eggs."

Their study, with a survey base of 7,000 people, suggested that "Spending large amounts of money on loot boxes was associated with problematic levels of spending on other forms of gambling. This is what one would expect if loot boxes psychologically constituted a form of gambling. It is not what one would expect if loot boxes were, instead, psychologically comparable to baseball cards."

The debate of whether or not loot boxes should be classed as gambling has circulated the gaming community for years, but whether studies like these will force other governments to follow in Belgium's footsteps remains to be seen.

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But what do you think? Should loot boxes get banned? Do you associate them with gambling? Make sure you let us know.

Featured Image Credit: EA

Topics: Belgium, Entertainment, FIFA 19, EA, overwatch, Gambling, Technology

Matthew McGladdery

Matthew McGladdery graduated with a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Salford University, where he worked at Revolution 96.2, Global Radio, and Fleetwood F.C. When he left university, he took on the role of co-editor for the Salfordian and worked as freelancer for the likes of BBC Sport. He continues to work in sport but loves talking all things Xbox, PS4, and PC just as much.