The debate around lot boxes has been going on for quite some time now. In the UK there has been active support in favor of demands to classify loot boxes as gambling.
In its recent report, the Royal Society For Public Health (RSPH) has advocated for seeing loot boxes as gambling and has urged the government to regulate loot boxes as gambling.
The RSPH has also called for separate legislation to address “loot boxes.” According to a study which was funded by the gambling charity Gamble Aware, it was found that about 58 percent of young people aged 11-24 see purchasing loot boxes as highly addictive.
The study also finds that two in five teenagers purchased loot boxes. The loot box market worldwide is estimated to be worth £20bn. The market in the UK is estimated at about £700 million.
The RSPH has demanded a commitment from the gaming industry to ensure:
– gamble-free video and mobile games for under 18s and the development of a set of criteria and the technology required to identify disordered spending on loot boxes and gambling-like content in games
– a broader definition of gambling and gambling-like activity to be included in the health education curriculum and introduced to young people at primary school;
– the development of education programs helping parents, carers, and teachers to be able to support young people around gambling harms; and the recognition of gambling harms as an important issue for mental health support teams in schools and colleges.
Shirley Cramer CBE, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: “Young people have told us that gambling and gambling-like activity are slowly but surely polluting hobbies and past-times that have traditionally been beneficial to their wellbeing.
“Today, the vast majority of young people take part regularly in video-gaming and no doubt many will receive video games as Christmas presents. However we, and the young people we’ve spoken to are concerned at how firmly embedded gambling-type features are in many of these games.
“As with any public health issue, this is one that requires a combination of measures focusing on both education and regulation. Young people are not universally opposed to gambling and gambling-like activity; they simply want to be able to recognize where it appears in their lives and to make an informed decision as to whether to avoid it altogether or to participate in a way that lowers the stakes for their health and wellbeing.”