Fecha de registro: 22 may 2022

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Dr Zendle’s written evidence448 referred to his research which shows that loot box spending is linked to problem gambling in both adults and adolescents. Dr Zendle has undertaken various studies which found that spending money on loot boxes is linked to problem gambling, and that the more money individuals spent on loot boxes, the more severe their problem gambling Dr Zendle emphasised that “in every single one” 449 of these studies, there was a link between spending on loot boxes and problem gambling. Moreover, “all effects observed were of a clinically important magnitude.”

Dr Zendle expanded on this point in oral evidence, stating that the link between problem gambling and loot boxes is “extraordinarily robust. It is of a magnitude that is uncommon in the social sciences. You see it every time you measure how much people are spending on loot boxes and their problem gambling. It has been replicated across the world, from Canada to Finland to the UK”.451 These observed links between loot box spending and problem gambling were much stronger in adolescents than adults.

Dr Zendle’s research suggests that either loot boxes cause problem gambling, or they exploit problem gambling among gamers to generate profits: “It may be the case that these things are linked because spending on loot boxes causes problem gambling. This is a credible explanation because loot boxes are very similar in many ways to gambling, and therefore may provide a gateway to it.

However, it may alternatively be the case that this relationship exists because people who already have gambling problems are drawn to spend significantly more on loot boxes. This also makes sense. Problem gambling is characterised by uncontrolled excessive spending on gambling. Loot boxes share many similarities with gambling. It therefore makes sense that this uncontrolled spending may transfer to loot boxes too.” 452


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