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Study finds link between lootboxes and gambling

Recent research has confirmed what many gamers already suspected: a link between lootboxes in video games and gambling. Lootboxes are virtual chests that can be purchased with real money or a certain amount of game time to obtain a random set of in-game items. This practice, which has gained widespread popularity in the video game industry, has been subjected to research where scientists have identified similarities between the mechanics of loot boxes and the incentives of gambling.


Loot boxes and gambling 

Recent research findings have shed light on the important topic of the link between lootboxes in video games and gambling behavior in players. It turns out that buying boxes represents a significant risk factor for problem gambling behavior and gambling addiction among video game players.

The researchers noted a strong correlation between the purchase of lootboxes and gambling, emphasizing that boxes of in-game items can act as a kind of “gateway” to the world of gambling, increasing the likelihood of developing problem gambling behavior.

In fact, lootboxes can act as an incentive to engage in gambling and increase users’ vulnerability to developing gambling addiction. Such addiction is a concern in many countries around the world. So, in the UK, they call for a ban on this method of monetization of games. However, it soon became known that the British authorities decided to abandon the ban lootboxes.

These conclusions are particularly relevant in modern conditions, when gambling has become easily accessible via the Internet, which poses a danger to those who are susceptible to gambling addiction. By selecting one of the casinos to play for real money at, one can start playing in just a few minutes from their desktop or mobile device. While most people can enjoy gambling without risk, easy access to gambling can pose a threat to those who tend to have a gambling addiction.

What the results of the surveys have shown 

A survey conducted among students and online platform members reveals interesting facts about lootbox purchases and their connection to gambling. It turned out that approximately 17% of participants purchased boxes, spending an average of $90.63 to $240.94. Most of the purchasers were male. A similar trend was seen among adult platform participants: among those who purchased boxes with in-game items, 57% participated in gambling, compared to 38% of the group without lootboxes.

However, the researchers have not yet established a direct link between risky purchases, such as increased lootbox purchases, and the onset of gambling addiction, primarily due to insufficient sample size. Of all the psychological risk factors, unfavorable childhood experiences correlate most strongly with an increased likelihood of participating in gambling and developing a gambling addiction.

This suggests that people who received a difficult upbringing may be more susceptible to developing gambling behavior problems. The study authors also emphasize that the integration of gambling, including lootboxes, into video games may exacerbate the problem of gambling addiction, especially among vulnerable groups. The findings emphasize the importance of close attention to the regulation and control of gambling elements in video games, as well as the creation of additional mechanisms to protect and support vulnerable groups.


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