More than 1 in 10 young gamers fall into debt over loot boxes claims new study

A new report on the use of loot boxes by younger gamers reveals the dangers they pose and the amount of debt some players have end up in.

Before you settle into enjoying any Christmas cheer the Gambling Health Alliance (GHA) has issued a warning that video games are not all escapist fun and that there’s a serious danger of gambling addiction for younger gamers.

New research from the GHA suggests that 15% of young gamers have stolen money from their parents to pay for loot boxes and 11% have used their parents’ credit card to pay for them.

The GHA has examples of three gamers whose buying habits led to their family having to re-mortgage their house, as 9% of those in the study ended up borrowing money they couldn’t repay.

A total of 22% of young gamers revealed they’ve spent over £100 on loot boxes while playing a single game, even as many complained they didn’t like loot boxes and felt the value they offered was poor.

Thanks to the very public rejection of loot boxes in Star Wars: Battlefront 2 they have become less common in full price games over the last few years, but they’re still prevalent in mobile games and sports titles such as FIFA and NBA 2K.

Whether loot boxes count as gambling has been a subject of great debate in many countries around the world and while the UK government’s initial position was that they do not the House of Lords has disagreed and there have been calls for new regulation.

It’s not clear how many gamers the study involved but the GHA describes it as ‘small’, which highlights another problem in that there has been very little serious study into video game addiction and related issues, even as they continue to be debated by lawmakers.

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