Lootboxes: Advice to the Gambling Commission from ABSG
Loot boxes have a strong association with gambling harms – and children perceive their use as gambling. Current evidence suggests a link with harm to consumers now – as well as the potential for young people to suffer harm in the future as a result of early engagement in behaviour that, from their perspective, feels like gambling. ABSG recommends public policy action based on evidence of harm in the present, as well as the precautionary principle because of the concern about the potential for future harm to children.
Further research on actual levels of spending, and other industry held data, would bring greater transparency and understanding of patterns and trends amongst children and young people.
ABSG recognise the complexity of blurred lines between gambling, gaming, and online retail. This challenge will not be best met by simply amending the definition of gambling to capture lootboxes. A cross-government approach to online harms is required. For this to be successful it will need a clearly defined policy framework, with clear roles for regulators including Ofcom, trading standards, the gambling Commission, the Advertising Standards Agency, and others.Previous section
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Annex A: Links to Recent Research with abstract summaries on key conclusions
Last updated: 12 August 2021
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