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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.” 452 434. In oral evidence, Dr Zendle explained that some more recent research “found that young people who spend money on loot boxes are more than 10 times as likely to be problem gamblers than those who do not”.

However, Dr Zendle also emphasised that the research does not show that loot boxes are a gateway into gambling, just that the two coincide.



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