UK gambling charity GambleAware is calling for the UK's government to take action on video game loot boxes in order to keep young people from being exposed to gambling addiction.
Recently, the government published a white paper that looked at evidence related to loot boxes in games and how they're accessed. The country's Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport called on gaming companies to protect consumers, but also indicated they won't ban boxes outright.
GambleAware said that it appreciates the government's stance of recognising that there are gambling risks associated with the boxes, but said that the new government that is being formed should consider curbs on the boxes.
In a statement, the charity wrote: "Research has shown that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, and therefore more adequate protection would help to prevent future gambling related harms.
"Gambling is a part of children and young people's daily lives, and children are thought to be more vulnerable to gambling harm, both as a result of someone else's gambling and their own participation.
"There are around 55,000 children experiencing gambling harms aged between 11 to 16 in the UK, according to the National Audit Office, with a further 85,000 estimated to be at risk and we believe more needs to be done to prevent harm among children and young people.
"We look forward to the publication of the 'Video Games Research Framework' later this year, which we hope will guide and inform legislation to protect children and young people from gambling related harms through video games."
Whether or not something actually comes of this is to be seen, but Casino Listings News is following the issue and will update readers as information becomes available.
There certainly is a gambling mechanic to loot boxes, but I'm wondering how they're considering tackling this. I simply don't let my kids buy loot boxes in games. I will for a skin where they know what they're getting, but nothing blind.
I guess my point here would be that some protections are warranted, but so is "being a parent" and saying no.
It kinda feels similar to lottery tickets. When I was a child, I used to buy a lot of scratch cards, hoping to just break even or if I'd win, buy a snack. Looking back, it's not something that should be sold to minors in my opinion.
As an adult video game player, for me the worst thing about loot boxes is not that they may be gambling. If they are, they are the dumbest form of gambling where people pay money to win something that is objectively worthless - like that woman we reported on who embezzled money to play a no-win slots app. I refuse to reward the scummy practice by ever paying for anything remotely similar to a loot box - I'd rather just not play the game.
No the worst thing is that they presumably work so well that developers make more money including these shitty things in a free game than they do by just outright selling the game. So now every man and his dog wants to stick these annoying loot boxes into their games and then use the game as a front to sell them to you, especially on mobile phones games which I rarely play any more for this reason. Between that and all the so-called "skinner box" games around now it has changed the whole video game industry for the worse IMO and I'd love to see them gone regardless of whether they are classified as gambling or not.
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Yes, I'd love to see them be gone, too. I don't think that'll ever happen though. I just can't get behind the aspect of paying for something like that.
Skins in a game like Fortnite I KIND of get. That game is totally free to play and it doesn't alter the gameplay, but does help you stand out a bit. I remember my kids getting a skin here or there and then chatting with friends while they blasted away. That I'm okay with. Random skin lootboxes though... not so much.