Loot boxes are an integral part of video games online. These bonuses can be bought or happen to unlock by paying actual money and transferring the credit into virtual money which can be used to spin or try the player’s luck in an all-or-nothing bet where the player may or may not luckily unlock a Loot Box.
Loot boxes do not traditionally fall under the UKGC’s roster of registered casino games although there are certain organizations and studies calling for the need for such classification being put into place after its concerning effects amongst problem gamblers.
Loot Boxes and Problem Gambling
This article primarily focuses on how the concept of loot boxes might attract problem gamblers who pursue dangerous trends of gambling and in turn losing financial stability. Since Loot Boxes are not recognized as a “game of chance” hence there are no stringent regulations in place to control and monitor the effectiveness of the bonuses and benefits provided by developers.
Loot Boxes allows the player the golden opportunity (at the cost of their own money) means of progressing in the game by unlocking small bonuses and this tactic has been taken up by many developers looking to promote their gaming interface by attracting players under the garb of exciting loot boxes being up for grabs while playing the game. Often developers use this gaming tactic to attract more loyal gamers which sometimes turns problematic for certain players.
The temptation and the uncertainty intrinsically tied to the concept of Loot boxes make it an extremely addictive and alluring gaming bonus. Problem gamblers compulsively continue playing or spending exorbitant amounts of money on these video games putting their lifestyles in danger. The tactic of loot boxes also introduces the concept of real money into video games which makes it dangerous for young children to be triggered into problematic gaming behaviour.
It triggers a reaction similar to gambling making it hard to resist for problem gamblers who are already registered under exclusionary services in order to curb their problematic gambling behaviour. Hence, even though loot boxes are not globally recognized as a gambling equivalent in video games, independent studies and community surveys have deduced that loot boxes and problem gambling may be directly proportional to one another if players with problem gambling tendencies are allowed to play unsupervised.
How to Avoid Problem Gambling
The journey to stop problem gambling is a long and difficult one. The first step of addressing this major lifestyle issue is to acknowledge their problematic gambling traits. One cannot begin the long process of recovery and healing from problem gambling tendencies without acknowledging the presence of a problem first.
After the problematic behaviour is acknowledged, players are encouraged to find healthy actions to pursue in order to curb their problem gambling tendency. They might choose game blocks or self-exclusion services in order to address their behaviour.
Self-exclusion services refer to voluntary participation on online forums and websites which discourages them from gambling or persistently searching for loot boxes time and again. The UKGC’s official website describes it as “Self-exclusion is a facility for those that have decided that they wish to stop gambling for at least six months and wish to be supported in their decision to stop.
The most popular self-exclusion service offered by UKGC is the GamStop service which adheres to the definition provided by the UKGC. All casinos registered under the UKGC are obligated to pay due diligence to address problem gambling behaviours and ways to cope with them. After the registration players are allowed to play only on UK casinos not covered by GamStop scheme available for British customers. As those operators do not hold a UKGC licence, they are not obligated to cooperate with GamStop and thousands of players know it.
If you think you are spending too much time or money gambling – whether online or in gambling premises – one can ask to be ‘self-excluded. Players can decide their time period of self-exclusion of gambling communities and casinos which closes the player’s account after registration into this service.
Another form of curbing problem gambling tendency is game blockers. These are applications or software available online to monitor and deny access to gambling sites across all devices, making it a far more effective method of software self-exclusion and journey towards healing from problematic gambling traits in a large section of casino games enthusiasts.
The loot box vs problematic gaming behaviour may not reach its final decision yet, but some European countries have already taken steps to address the effects of uncontrollable online gaming which creates lasting repercussions in their daily lives.