UK NHS director calls out lootboxes as ‘under the radar’ gambling

    
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This is someone else's problem.

As much as the developers who make lockboxes would probably like for the random packs of items to start slipping back under the radar, that keeps not happening. A new report by NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch specifically calls out the random item packs as being a form of “under the radar” gambling which might not be immediately apparent as gambling, arguing that these sales are “teaching [children] to gamble on the content of these loot boxes.”

Murdoch’s ultimate takeaway is that lockbox sales should be discontinued and that games should have hard in-game spending limits, calling the lack of regulation from England’s Gambling Commission an oversight due to a loophole. The UKIE, representing the game industry in the United Kingdom, has already responded to Murdoch’s report by noting that games do allow for spending limits with the help of existing parental controls and arguing that new policies will require the disclosure of odds for items from lootboxes, with the implication being that the core substance of Murdoch’s disapproval has thus been addressed. Still, it seems that these little boxes of uncertain gambling identity keep staying in the radar.

Source: VG24/7

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Alexus Yanova

I honestly do not see this as a big deal. If I want to do this kind of gambling – let me do it, it is my own money and I understand I might not receive the item from opening the box.

I understand that some children or adults may not be able to realize they are gambling or may not be using their own money but that is the problem of the people who are supposed to watch what they’re doing online, like parents or caregivers or whatever. The only thing companies should do if they put loot boxes into games is to put a mandatory warning that you are not guaranteed to receive the item which you must agree with before purchasing each lootbox or the item which opens lootboxes.

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

Once again the public sector is interfering with the private sector. The two should be completely separate and regulate themselves independently. State interference never ends well.

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NeoWolf

Was anyone ever in any doubt that lockboxes are a form of gambling? I mean… really? lol

If it walks like a chicken, looks like a chicken, tastes like a chicken, chances are its a chicken..

As to what to do about them.. that is a total sh** show for a plethora of reasons. But it is clear SOMETHING needs to change.

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Robert Mann

Disclosure of odds has… never stopped much of anyone. Parental limits are a good thing, but at the same time there needs to be direction for oh so very many parents out there, who are lost when you go beyond what they grew up with.

And none of that deals with things that happen outside the home, which is and has been a common source of things in many nations (especially those with gaming lobbies as a big thing).

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kgptzac

Holy shit, the evil video gaming industry has corrupted 55k British kids into “gambling problems”. Magic the Gathering really shouldn’t allow themselves be outdone in this aspect, since they are the grandpa to modern lootbox.

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Arktouros

Every time I open up one of these articles I think, “This is going to be the one. This is going to be the article where they finally did a scientific study that their own doctors they interviewed said they should do and finally prove that loot boxes are gambling causing and thus a proven danger to children.”

Yet every time I’m greeted with a new report that cites the last report which cites another report which links back to another report that….

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rosieposie

And every time I open up one of these articles, I inevitably see your incomprehensible libertarian drivel in the comments.

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Arktouros

Yea I mean it’s 2020 what an anachronistic view to want actual science, research and study to create an informed opinion on a topic.

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48 Pistols

Well here’s what i found with a basic DuckDuckGo search that took about 30 seconds.. Maybe if you tried opening your eyeholes and looking for it you’d find it. But nah just keep your head in the sand and yell ‘lalalalalala i can’t hear you.’

Hilarious.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0213194
This one seems to be a very powerful peer reviewed study, just having a cursory glace at it’s contents.
”1,545 responses were collected in total from gamers from the USA. 245 respondents gave more than one inconsistent answer to the ten screening questions when they were repeated at the end of the study and were removed from the sample. 119 participants mentioned both loot boxes and gambling when asked what they thought the study was about and were removed from the sample. 7 participants listed their gender as a number. They were deemed non-serious and removed from the sample. This left a total of 1,174 responses.”

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2019-05-06-study-sees-link-between-loot-boxes-and-gambling
OwO what’s this, another peer-reviewed study? this one from the Uni of British Columbia? Granted that this one has a small group of participants.

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Arktouros

Congratulations, you found more survey studies that show people with gambling problems like things with chance based mechanics. Why is it we seem to have unlimited funds to do a never ending series of studies into the relationship of violence and video games but no one can drop some money on doing a proper study on gambling, children and video games and it’s always another survey?

However back to the point: what the NHS is talking about and specifically what I’m talking about is about loot boxes being gambling addiction causing. The argument being presented by organizations like the NHS is that loot boxes are gambling causing meaning they will create gambling addiction which is obviously bad for children.

However one of their previous reports (I forget which one, I believe during the whole “surprise mechanics” debacle) it specifically had sections where the Doctors they interviewed as part of that said there is no verifiable/studied link between loot boxes and gambling causing behavior and they recommend that scientific study be done on the matter.

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48 Pistols

”what the NHS is talking about and specifically what I’m talking about is about loot boxes being gambling addiction causing.”

Yeah um i’m not sure that could ever be proven, you and the NHS have asked for an impossibility. Kinda hard for a study to look into the future.

I can tell you for a fact that as someone who’s worked in gaming industry for a number of years when i was younger, that lootbox mechanics are akin to slot machines. You put money in, you get X amount of spins, you have a small chance to win big. Chances are you win shit all. It’s a helluva drug for some. I’d see pensioners come in on their payday, dump 5/6th’s of their benefits into a machine, win nothing and leave. Come back next fortnight and do it all over again. The reason i knew it was all one person is when i’d empty a cash hopper i’d see five one hundred dollar bills in a row.

I don’t know man, that first study i linked seems pretty robust regardless of whether or not it answers your exact question. Which again i’d say you’re asking for a study to predict the future. And i think if a study did attempt to predict the future, you’d wave it off anyway, right?

Hmm why exactly are you in favour of lootboxes? I’m assuming that you are in favour of them the way you seem to be white-knighting for them.

Or are you just playing devils advocate for the hell of it?

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Schmidt.Capela

games should have hard in-game spending limits

Basically he wants to outlaw whaling.
I’m perfectly fine with that.

DBZVelena
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DBZVelena

UKIE, showing how morally bankrupt they are and are paid by the games that have these lootboxes in them.
Games aimed at kids should not need “parent controls” to keep kids from spending any money.

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Arktouros

Games aimed at kids should not need “parent controls” to keep kids from spending any money.

Irresponsible children probably shouldn’t also have access to an irresponsible amount of money but somehow we still end up with the “My child spent 64 thousand dollars on FIFA loot boxes” stories.

Since those parents seem inept at parenting their children, guess we need the businesses and government to do it for them.

Dantos
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Dantos

I really dont see why a game that is rated for everyone needs parental controls. If it does need parental controls so that the child that the game is supposedly being made for doesnt put their parents into debt, maybe it shouldnt be rated E?

I’m not as rabidly against lootboxes as some, but at the very least the odds need to be disclosed as a start.

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Arktouros

Well, again, really my question is where does a child get access to the ability to go into debt? Like if the argument is “Think of the children!” then my first thoughts are children don’t work, they don’t generate income, they don’t have access to debt then how are these children generating so much debt? We all know the answer, but the same kind of irresponsible person who gave their child access to an irresponsible amount of money is the same kind of person who’s going to blame the company.

I actually hate loot boxes I just disagree with a government solution because there’s a ridiculous amount of ways that whole scenario can become 10x worse than just ignoring loot boxes as is. Like you can see the future if they outlaw loot boxes in Black Desert right now where they instead put the RNG in game and then just sell you ways to mitigate the negative effects of RNG. What you going to do then? Regulate RNG? Hah!