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22nd Jul 2022 Rowan Walker

GambleAware responds to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games

GambleAware has published a statement on the Government response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games which was published this week.

GambleAware statement regarding the response to the call for evidence on loot boxes 

London, 22 July 2022: GambleAware is the leading charity working to reduce gambling harms. As an independent charity, accountable to the Charity Commission, we are the lead commissioner of prevention and treatment services to help those experiencing gambling harms across Great Britain.

We have long been concerned about loot boxes, which are used by 40% of children who play video games and are leading to the normalisation of gambling-like activities. We are therefore encouraged to see the government recognising these risks in the response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games.

However, we hope that going forward, the new government may consider legislative action on their use, particularly with regards to limiting the access of children and young people to these products. Research has shown that loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling, and therefore more adequate protection would help to prevent future gambling related harms. We look forward to the publication of the ‘Video Games Research Framework’ later this year, which we hope will guide and inform legislation to protect children and young people from gambling related harms through video games.

Gambling is a part of children and young people’s daily lives, and children are thought to be more vulnerable to gambling harm, both as a result of someone else’s gambling and their own participation. There are around 55,000 children experiencing gambling harms aged between 11 to 16 in the UK, according to the National Audit Office, with a further 85,000 estimated to be at risk and we believe more needs to be done to prevent harm among children and young people.