Parents warned video game 'loot boxes' could lead children to gambling addiction

Parents warned video game 'loot boxes' could lead children to gambling addiction

Parents are being advised to be aware of the video games their children are playing over fears they can lead to gambling addiction.

It comes following a report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the UK which shows betting is being normalised through gaming.

The trend of 'loot boxes' allows players to pay for random rewards online, and in some cases, children are maxing out credit cards by doing so.

The RSPH recommend that the randomised in-game purchases should be legally recognised as forms of gambling.

Loot boxes allow players to pay for random rewards, such as new outfits (or 'skins') for their in-game characters or - in some cases - stronger characters or gameplay advantages.

According to the RSPH study, 58% of young people see purchasing a loot box as a form of highly addictive gambling.

The survey suggests loot boxes are purchased by two in five young gamers.

The results also shows that 55% of young people believe that playing a mobile or video game could lead to a young person gambling.

The RSPH's chief executive Shirley Cramer suggested that "young people introduced to the same mechanisms that underpin gambling" through an industry operating "unchecked and unregulated".

Meanwhile, CEO of Problem Gambling Ireland, Barry Grant, said parents need to be aware of the nature of these purchases.

He explained: "There's a gambling element to this, because you don't actually know what you're buying when you purchase the loot box - so there's this risk and reward element to it.

"Parents [should] have some idea around the types of games they're purchasing for their kids around Christmas - especially to keep an eye on whether kids are looking for credits within the game or money to make in-app purchases that might be those gambling-style loot boxes."


More in this Section

Three men arrested following Belfast 'knife fight'Three men arrested following Belfast 'knife fight'

Pedestrian seriously injured after collision in Cork overnightPedestrian seriously injured after collision in Cork overnight

Cork University Hospital made over €2.5m from car parking charges in 2019Cork University Hospital made over €2.5m from car parking charges in 2019

Freezing temperatures to continue throughout the morning Freezing temperatures to continue throughout the morning


Lifestyle

I see that a website describes the call of Canarian cory’s shearwaters as ‘waca waca’. It’s a mad, hysterical call, uttered when the parent birds arrive to feed their nestlings.Cory’s shearwaters show long-distance qualities

Is it too much to hope that an important public health matter, such as Lyme disease, will be an issue in the general election? There’s been a worrying reluctance by the authorities to face up to the extent of the disease here.Facing up to Lyme disease

A paper published in Current Biology examines the extinction of a colourful little bird which, until recently, thrived in the eastern US. With the appalling environmental catastrophe enveloping Australia, home to 56 of the world’s 370 parrot species, this account of the Carolina parakeet’s demise is timely.Trying to save the parrot is not all talk

The recent rescue of a trawler 20km north of Fanad Head in Co Donegal gave us a glimpse of the enormous seas that occasionally strike that part of the coast.Islands of Ireland: Inishbeg Island begs the question

More From The Irish Examiner