Research has identified a link between loot boxes and gambling. Loot boxes are an in-game purchase that players can make that includes randomized items that they may value. This random element of loot boxes is similar to random outcomes in gambling and there have been concerns that loot boxes may put players at increased risk of problem gambling.
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Thanks for sharing this interesting article, Steve! This study showed that as problem gambling severity increased (in adults), so did in-game spending on loot boxes. These findings lead to even more questions, including the effects on youth with and without gambling problems, the role of loot boxes in introducing youth to gambling, and the impact that evidence-based legislation can have on preventing or limiting in-game loot boxes.
What do others think?
The Australian Government is currently conducting a commission into loot-boxes (microtransactions for chance based items). You can read a number of interesting submissions (including my own) on the topic.
The Australian Government has also reached out to the Netherlands to clarify why they regulated lootboxes in games. Their response states:
Loot boxes could possibly have a negative effect on the objective of preventing addiction as much as possible. The integration of loot boxes into games of skill, without the corresponding suitable addiction prevention measures and provisions, is inconsistent with Dutch gambling policy to limit the negative effects of games of chance as much as possible. This because of the following:
According to our analyses, loot boxes have, on average, an addiction potential between moderate and high. A lot of loot boxes have integral elements that are similar to slot machines. Loot boxes with a higher score are often comparable with blackjack or roulette in terms of addiction potential. Loot boxes with a lower score are comparable with small-scale bingo in terms of addiction potential.
A very large group of minors (75% - 95%) play video games. This group can currently be exposed to loot boxes. The risk of gambling addiction in this group is higher than in other groups.
The integration of loot boxes into games of skill provides a low threshold for playing a game of chance. This integration creates a mixture of games of chance and games of skill in an environment that is comparable, in physical terms, with the low threshold of the hotel and catering industry. Such mixing at these locations was prohibited in the Netherlands in the 1990s to reduce exposure to games of chance and to protect minors.
The Senate report is actually due today, but I haven't seen it yet.
I've done quite a bit of work in this space. To those interested I can share some of my own documentation and resources.
I would absolutely be interested in your study of this area of gaming @Registered Member thank you