Gambling in the United States is subject to some strict laws, and this makes sense, given the potential risks associated with the development of pathological addiction. However, the fact that children as young as 10 years old are starting to gamble is alarming.
Often, parents may not realize that children are involved in gambling through video games. It used to be that video games were bought once, and everyone was happy.
But today, things have changed. Games are more like a service: they are often provided for free, and then developers and publishers make money from “lootboxes” and microtransactions.
What are lootboxes?
They are virtual containers or crates containing a random set of virtual items or abilities that can be used in-game. And here’s an interesting fact: The Federal Trade Commission has expressed concern about lootboxes, both nationally and internationally.
Why? Because there are concerns that buying and opening boxes of in-game items encourages behavior very similar to gambling, such as roulette, and encourages addictive consumer spending, even in titles aimed at young children. Subsequently, growing children start visiting sites like www.twinspinca.com that advertise real money casinos.
Lootboxes are a source of incredible profits for companies
Lootboxes are making huge profits for the video game industry today. If you look at recent studies, you can see that in 2018, the video game industry bet on lootboxes and made just crazy money – up to 30 billion dollars!
An interesting fact is that several major game studios, such as Ubisoft and Take-Two Interactive, consider in-game item boxes a key tactic for generating the majority of their revenue. It turns out that they create games that are primarily focused on selling “extra content.”
It turns out that lootbox revenue is sometimes unevenly distributed. Over 90% of this revenue is generated by a small number of gamers who are labeled by the term “whales” – gamers who spend disproportionately large amounts on in-game purchases.
Lootboxes and gambling behavior
A recent study of teenagers conducted by researchers at Central Queensland University found that most of the best-selling video games featured lootboxes. And get this: almost every teenager between the ages of 12 and 17 or 18 and 24 played titles with virtual reward boxes. And now, here’s the best part: a teenager aged 12 to 17 spends an average of $50 a month on lootboxes, while a teenager aged 18 to 24 spends an average of $72 a month buying boxes of in-game items.
And that’s not all – the same study found that buying lootboxes significantly increases the likelihood of having gambling problems in the future. This is certainly a very important finding that raises the issue of the impact of lootboxes on the psychology and behavior of gamblers, especially children and teenagers.
Buying lootboxes can cause pathological gaming addiction
New research has shown that buying lootboxes can have long-term consequences in the form of gambling problems in adulthood. This raises serious concerns because such activities seem harmless and fun at first glance but, in fact, have a negative impact, causing addiction and stimulating the development of gambling addiction.
Therefore, parents should be aware of the potential problem and monitor their children’s spending on games. Ideally, they could require permission to make purchases, discuss with their children how gambling works, and keep a close eye out for possible signs of problem gambling behavior.
It is important to be able to recognize such signs. For example, changes in financial status, behavior, perhaps irritability when not having access to gambling, secrecy, and changes in academic success or withdrawal from social activities.