Loot Boxes: Are they grooming youth for gambling?
reportposted on 23.06.2020, 00:00 by Matthew Rockloff, Alexander Russell, Nancy Greer, Lisa Lole, Nerilee Hing, Matthew Browne
This report outlines research aimed at understanding the risks posed by loot boxes to adolescents (12-17) and young adults (18-24) in NSW. Loot boxes are a growing concern due to the risk and reward properties that closely align them with traditional gambling, the potential for encouraging greater gambling involvement, and the potential for associated gambling harm. Broadly, this research revealed: • Loot boxes are common in the best-selling video games. Our exploration included a selection of 82 best selling video games and revealed 62% (51) had loot boxes. • In our survey sample, almost all of the respondents played at least one video game with loot boxes within the last 12 months (93.2%). • About a third (32.9%) of the survey respondents who played games with loot boxes within the last 12 months had also purchased a loot box, and their median monthly expenditure was $50 for adolescents and $72 for young adults. • Compared to other purchasers, young adults who more recently first purchased loot boxes were more likely to have gambling problems. Conversely, there was no evidence that earlier experiences with loot boxes predict later gambling problems. • Both adolescents and young adults who had either opened, bought or sold loot boxes within the last 12 months were also more likely to have: 1) gambled in the last 12 months (young adults), 2) gambled more frequently (young adults), 3) spent more money gambling (young adults), 4) suffered more gambling problems (adolescents and young adults), 5) suffered more gambling-related harm (young adults), and 6) endorsed more positive attitudes towards gambling (adolescents and young adults).