A study shows that loot boxes lead to serious gambling

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Survey of 7,400 gamers shows that people with gambling problems are prone to pay for loot boxes

A new study presents strong evidence that loot boxes in games pose serious risk of triggering players’ urge to gamble. Australian Environment and Communications Reference Committee (ECRC) surveyed 7,400 gamers about their habits and experiences with loot boxes. Results of the study were reported to Australian Senate.

The participants of the study, who had previously suffered from gambling problems, were likely to pay for loot boxes. This finding strongly suggests that “loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling"

Gateway to problem gambling

Since loot boxes and gambling fire up the same neurons in human brain, one thing can lead to another.  

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

Members of ECRC recommend that games containing loot boxes are restricted to players legally allowed to gamble. Also, authors of the study think the games should warn users about the risks posed by gambling.

ECRC wasn’t the only party with a report during Senate hearings. University professors Dr. Aaron Drummond (PhD) and Dr. James D. Sauer (PhD) noted that many loot box systems meet all psychological and legal criteria for gambling.

Yesterday we covered a story about European watchdogs who decided to unite forces to tackle the problem of gambling in gaming.

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