Spending within video games creates “problem gamblers” and must be better regulated, a study has found.
Computer scientists from York found a strong link between “loot box” spending and problem gambling.
In using loot boxes, players of some online games use real money to access in-game functions – but they do not always know what they are paying for.
The study, which is the largest of its kind so far, was led by Dr David Zendle, from York St John University, and co-authored by Dr Paul Cairns, from the University of York.
It found the link to problem gambling, and there is currently no age restriction. Campaigners say it should be set at 18 in line with the legal gambling age.
A Gambling Commission study has revealed the number of child gamblers has quadrupled.