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Australian study reports loot boxes "psychologically akin to gambling"

Australian study reports loot boxes "psychologically akin to gambling"

Video game loot boxes are a gateway to issues with gambling.

That's according to research by Australia's Environment and Communications Reference Committee, who spoke to 7,400 gamers with the conclusion that loot boxes are "psychologically akin to gambling".

Due to this, this business model could be a trigger for other types of gambling.

"These results support the position of academics who claim that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling," the study said.

"Spending large amounts of money on loot boxes was associated with problematic levels of spending on other forms of gambling. This is what one would expect if loot boxes psychologically constituted a form of gambling. It is not what one would expect if loot boxes were, instead, psychologically comparable to baseball cards."

It continued: "They may therefore condition gamers to require the excitement associated with gambling , leading to problem gambling."

The organisation has recommended that loot boxes be limited to games that feature an 18-plus rating, in addition, ECRC says that titles using this business model could also require warnings about them.


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PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site PCGamesInsider.biz. In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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