Following on from the release of its latest Young People & Gambling report, the UK Gambling Commission has refuted reports published by several mainstream media outlets whom claim that loot boxes lead to an increased exposure and pathway to gambling with young children. Though the report does offer insight into the current perception of loot boxes with children aged 11-16 — the survey having been conducted between February and July of this year — the commission has stated that their report makes no mention of loot boxes being a pathway to further gambling.
“We’ve not in anyway, in the survey, referred to it as exposure to gambling,” a spokeswoman explained, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz. “The reason we’ve asked that question is that it’s a very popular subject matter and we want to try and make sure that we have as much information and data around it as possible.”
The report finds that more than half of those surveyed, are aware of the dangers of gambling, with only 14% agreeing with the idea that it is OK for people of this age range to gamble. Even so, nearly a third of 11 – 16 year olds (31% to be precise) have admitted to either paying for or having used some form of in-game item to acquire loot boxes, with more than half already aware that it was possible to use real money to purchase loot boxes. Only 3% have used items such as skins to gamble, with 15% of those surveyed saying that they were even aware of skin-betting websites to begin with.
However, the report also points to other forms of gambling, such as private bets, slot machines and the National Lottery, indicating that loot boxes are not the solitary cause and that the increase in gambling with young people and children in the UK is more wide spread. But despite offering previous concerns on the decreasing difference between video games and gambling as a concept, the UK Gambling Commission once more remains adamant that loot boxes are in no way a form of gambling. You can read the full report here.