The risky use of video game ‘loot boxes’ is associated with problematic gambling behaviors

Engagement with “loot boxes” — randomly generated prizes of undisclosed value that can be attained or purchased within a game — is correlated with gambling beliefs and problematic gambling behavior in adult gamers, according to a study published in Addictive Behaviors.

“Our focus upon loot boxes stems from a broader interest in the ‘gamblification’ of video games, or when video games acquire traits similar to gambling,” said study author Gabriel Brooks, a PhD student at the Centre for Gambling Research at the University of British Columbia.

Loot boxes began appearing in video games in the mid-2000s and have grown in popularity since. In some cases, players earn them as rewards for game play, but players are often encouraged to buy them using real or virtual currency.

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