On the day of action against gambling addiction, which will take place this year on Wednesday, September 28th, the dangers of gambling will be addressed by support organizations nationwide. This year the focus is on the subject of youth protection.
This year’s main topic is an occasion for WestLotto to once again clearly address the dangers emanating from so-called loot boxes. “This is a dangerous development not only for the entire gaming industry, but also for society as a whole. There are serious problems and a major challenge for all players in the gaming industry,” emphasizes WestLotto Managing Director Andreas Kötter.
These “virtual boxes” are elements in computer games that contain a random collection of specific items. The phenomenon is not new. For example, it is comparable to trading cards in newsagents. In both cases, the consumer spends money to get a mix of items that are not previously known but are random. However, the difference lies in the availability. Loot boxes are always present.
These boxes can be unlocked, found, or purchased in-game. They contain virtual objects such as clothing, weapons or other alleged benefits. Valuable or very useful items are rare. The purchase is usually made with a game currency, which is usually exchanged for real money beforehand. Loot boxes are criticized because they can turn a free game into an expensive affair due to the supposed game advantages that are subject to a fee.
In addition, loot boxes are suspected of being addictive, since critics believe that they are gambling and false expectations are aroused. The demarcation between a video game as an entertainment game and a game of chance is no longer clearly recognizable – online games and online games of chance are merging.
Since children and young people are particularly susceptible to manipulation, it is important to protect them from these hidden cost traps. Because this can lay the foundation for problematic gaming behavior in minors, which encourages gambling addiction in adulthood. Especially when they grow up in an environment that is already burdened by family members who are addicted to gambling. “It should be clear to everyone that we must now act together. Otherwise, as a responsible provider, in a few years we will inherit gamblers who entered the business when they were minors and bring problematic gaming behavior with them,” Kötter continues.
WestLotto has been drawing attention to the fact that hidden gambling offers in game apps are dangerous for children since 2019. Loot boxes contain gambling elements and should therefore be re-regulated by law. In this way, children can safely use gaming offers and are protected from the risks that gambling entails. The nationwide Gambling Addiction Day also draws more attention to children from families who are affected by gambling addiction and focuses on the existing range of help. More information at www.gamblerkid.com.
Licensed provider in Germany (www.gluecksspiel-whitelist.de). Participation from 18 years. Gambling can be addictive! Help and advice under BZgA: 0800 1372700 (free of charge).