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Australian report psychologically links loot boxes to gambling

Psychological links between loot boxes and gambling have been uncovered in a new report by the Australian Environment and Communications Reference Committee (ECRC).

The ECRC is the Senate Committee that was tasked to investigate loot boxes as gambling back in June. Its recent report, “Gaming micro-transactions for chance-based items” can be downloaded in full here.

If you want the TL;DR version of the report, the committee determined that 45% of all games with loot boxes meet all five psychological criteria for gambling. While the committee stressed that “not all loot box mechanics [and] systems are the same”, it did call out titles like PUBG, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Furthermore, the report goes on to recommend that loot box systems should be regulated in the same ways that other gambling-related businesses — like casinos or betting sites — are. It also recommends the Australian Classification Board adopt a “Simulated Gambling” content descriptor as already in use by the USA’s ESRB and Europe’s PEGI.

What do you make of this report?

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.