Loot box spending in video games is linked to problem gambling severity

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Description: Loot boxes are items in video games that can be paid for with real-world money and contain randomised contents. There are concerns that similarities between loot boxes and gambling may lead to increases in problem gambling amongst gamers. A large-scale survey of gamers (n=1,174) found further evidence for a link (η2 = 0.047) between the amount that individuals spent on loot boxes and the severity of their problem gambling. This study was presented as a general study on spending on video games. Participants were unaware of the study's aims, and did not self-select into a loot box study. It is unclear from this study whether buying loot boxes acts as a gateway to problem gambling, or whether spending large amounts of money on loot boxes appeals more to problem gamblers. However, in either case these results provide further evidence that there may be good reason to regulate loot boxes in games.

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