Research by Central Queensland University finds young adults are more likely to gamble if exposed to in-game purchases and loot boxes.
Australia.- The New South Wales Government’s Responsible Gambling Fund has issued a warning on the dangers of loot boxes in creating gambling problems among young people.
A study of 1,954 people conducted by Central Queensland University (CQU) concluded young adults are more likely to gamble if exposed to in-game purchases and loot boxes in video games.
Director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, Natalie Wright, said: “Loot boxes can resemble gambling since players invest time and sometimes money in obtaining them, then receive a random reward of uncertain value such as weapons or outfits for their characters.
“They are a growing concern because of the risk and reward elements associated with them that is similar to gambling and there are currently no age limits to play these games.”
CQU found that 62 per cent of the games adolescents played offered loot boxes, and about a third of respondents had purchased a loot box in the last 12 months.
The median monthly expenditure on loot boxes for adolescents aged 12 to 17 was AU$50, and AU$72 for young adults aged 18 to 24 years.
Of those surveyed, 93 per cent had played at least one game with loot boxes within the last 12 months.
The university concluded that compared to other purchasers, those aged 18 to 24 were more likely to have gambling problems.
Young people who had either opened, bought or sold loot boxes within the last 12 months were also more likely to have gambled in that period, gambled more frequently, spending more, and suffering more gambling problems and gambling-related harm.