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UK charity calls on government to regulate loot boxes

The Royal Society for Public Health releases report on attitude of young people toward loot boxes

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has called on the newly elected British government to implement tight restrictions on loot boxes in video games.

The call is joined by a report titled Skins in the Game, which alleges the normalisation of gambling in video games.

Based on research funded by charity GambleAware, the report found that the majority of young people see both loot boxes (58%) and skin betting (60%) as "forms of highly addictive gambling."

The survey was conducted on over 1,000 young people living in the UK, aged between 11 and 24.

Based on the report, the RSPH is now calling on the government to legally recognise loot boxes and skin betting as forms of gambling.

"Young people have told us that gambling and gambling-like activity are slowly but surely polluting hobbies and past-times that have traditionally been beneficial to their wellbeing," said RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer.

"Today, the vast majority of young people take part regularly in video-gaming and no doubt many will receive video games as Christmas presents. However we, and the young people we've spoken to are concerned at how firmly embedded gambling-type features are in many of these games.

"The rise of loot boxes and skin betting have seen young people introduced to the same mechanisms that underpin gambling, through an industry that operates unchecked and unregulated on the back alleys of the internet, which young people can access from their bedrooms."

This call comes just months after the Department for Digital, Media, Culture, and Sport released its inquiry report into immersive and addictive technologies.

The report was the result of months of evidence gathering, and proposed that loot boxes be regulated under under gambling law.

For the record: This article previously stated it was the Royal Society for the Protection of Health, rather than the Royal Society for Public Health, and has been amended accordingly.

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Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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