More than a third of teenagers and young people in the UK start buying loot boxes at the age of 13. Many of them spend their parents’ money without permission. In some cases, children’s gambling addiction drives their families into debt and forces them to mortgage property.In recent years, more and more organizations in the UK have been paying attention to the problem of loot boxes and their accessibility for children and adolescents.

According to last year’s survey by the UK Gambling Commission, 23% of players aged 11-16 have made in-game purchases at least once. Data from the Parent Zone organization shows that 40% of British children aged 10-16 bought loot boxes.

Yesterday, the Royal Society for Public Health (Royal Society for Public Health) published the results of its own research. 611 people aged 13-24 from England, Scotland and Wales took part in the survey.

General information34% of respondents admitted that they bought loot boxes for the first time at the age of 13 or younger.

  • 15% of young gamers took money from their parents to buy loot boxes without permission.
  • 11% of players used their parents’ credit or debit cards to make in-game purchases.
  • 9% of the surveyed gamers borrowed money for loot boxes, while not having the financial ability to repay the debt.
  • Three interviewed players admitted that their families had to mortgage their houses to cover the cost of buying loot boxes.
  • One person admitted that he had to deal with crime to pay off debts.
  • How much do British players spend on loot boxes?

31% of players admitted that they do not know exactly how much they spend on loot boxes.

  • Most loot boxes cost in the range from £1 to £3, however individual purchases can reach £20.
  • At the same time, 22% of respondents admitted that they spend more than £100 in games.11% of gamers buy loot boxes daily or at least once a week.
  • 27% of players admitted that they make purchases monthly.On average, gamers spend £5 a week and £260 a year on loot boxes.
  • At the same time, every tenth respondent spends from £11 to £20 a week on in-game purchases.Also, many gamers interviewed admitted that in-game purchases ruin their gaming experience.

They explain this by saying that:

  • without loot boxes in some games it is impossible to compete with players who spend a lot of money;sometimes the percentage of loss of valuable items is so low that players feel cheated;
  • for some gamers, loot boxes cause a real addiction.
  • In connection with the results of the study, the Royal Society of Public Health and The Gambling Health Alliance, an organization established by it, once again called for recognizing loot boxes as a form of gambling and prohibiting minors from playing games with these mechanics.

“We urge parents to assess the risks associated with loot boxes when buying gifts for Christmas and boycott games with such predatory mechanics until they are reclassified as gambling and banned from playing them to persons under 18 years of age,” said RSPH Deputy Director Duncan Stephenson (Duncan Stephenson).