Blood, Hurst & O’Reardon, LLP is investigating videogame “loot boxes” targeting minors. Loot boxes have been available in many videogames including Overwatch, Fortnite, Roblox, Call of Duty, FIFA, Destiny 2, Apex Legends, and Star Wars Battlefront II. These videogames are available on gaming consoles, computers and mobile devices downloaded through the Google and Apple app stores.
Videogame loot boxes allow companies to monetize problem gambling in vulnerable children. They entice players to spend real-world money for the random chance to win game items (like rare outfits, weapons, “skins,” or player packs) or the chance to progress more quickly in a game. Regulators in the Netherlands banned several videogame loot boxes because they “foster the development of addiction.” Authorities in Belgium determined that loot boxes in FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were considered games of chance and subject to Belgium’s gambling laws.
Studies also have warned of a strong link between loot box spending and problem gambling in minors. One of those published studies is here: Adolescents and loot boxes: links with problem gambling and motivations for purchase. In the 2019 study, UK researchers surveyed 1155 older adolescents and found loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, “share many formal features with gambling,” and their study results “clearly suggest one thing: spending money on loot boxes is linked to problem gambling in older adolescent populations.”
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