Video game loot boxes are linked to problem gambling: Results of a large-scale survey

Loot boxes are items in video games that can be paid for with real-world money and contain randomised contents. In recent years, loot boxes have become increasingly common. There is concern in the research community that similarities between loot boxes and gambling may lead to increases in problem gambling amongst gamers. A large-scale survey of gamers (n=7,422) found evidence for a link (η2 = 0.069) between the amount that gamers spent on loot boxes and the severity of their problem gambling. There were strong differences in the amount spent by problem gamblers and non-problem gamblers (η2 = 0.377). 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 suggest that there is good reason to regulate loot boxes in games.

See report here.