In the United Kingdom and the organization behind the BeGambleAware.org responsible gambling resource has responded to the government’s official call for evidence on the utilization of ‘loot boxes’ in video games.
The London-headquartered GambleAware charity used a Friday press release to detail that its reply comes after the exiting government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that it has no plans to include a ban on video game ‘loot boxes’ within its upcoming ‘white paper’ review into the nation’s iGaming scene. The subsequent decision to launch an official consultation over prohibition was also made despite 15 peer-reviewed studies showing evidence of a ‘stable and consistent’ association between the contentious attractions and problem gambling.
Already banned in Belgium, ‘loot boxes’ are a popular feature in video games such as Call of Duty and the FIFA football series that often allow aficionados to enhance their experience via the purchase of additional weapons, characters and costumes. However, the often-random nature of what is actually contained within these digital buys has drawn criticism from those worried that players are simply being conned into spending money until they get their preferred result.
In its Friday reply and GambleAware described itself as ‘the lead commissioner of prevention and treatment services to help those experiencing gambling harms across Great Britain’. The organization moreover stated that it has ‘long been concerned’ about the prevalence of ‘loot boxes’ as the attractions are used by approximately 40% of the children who enjoy video games and have facilitated ‘the normalization of gambling-like activities’.
The race to select the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is set to finish on September 5 with either Foreign Secretary Liz Truss or former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak being named as the nation’s leader. GambleAware additionally proclaimed that it hopes any new government would ‘consider legislative action’ to ban the use of ‘loot boxes’ specifically with regards ‘to limiting the access of children and young people to these products.’
In its response and GambleAware moreover cited information from the National Audit Office to pronounce that the United Kingdom is home to approximately 55,000 people aged between eleven and 16 ‘experiencing gambling harms’. The watchdog went on to assert that the nation has a further 85,000 minors who are believed to be at risk of developing a problem and ‘more needs to be done to prevent harm among children and young people.’
Read GambleAware’s press release…
“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.”