GambleAware calls for legislative loot box action after DCMS decision

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GambleAware has advised the new UK government to adopt a tougher stance on the position of loot boxes, including a limitation of access to children and young people.

The independent charity’s statement follows the recent dismissal of a loot box ban from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), after a two-year investigation into the practice.

Instead, the DCMS revealed ‘parental locks’ as the headline measure of the government’s consultation on new video game safeguards that had been issued in 2020.

GambleAware’s response cited that loot boxes are used by 40% of children who play video games, leading “to the normalisation of gambling-like activities”.

According to the National Audit Office, around 55,000 children – aged between 11 to 16 – are experiencing gambling harms, with a further 85,000 estimated to be at risk.

GambleAware has not been a lone voice in the campaign on loot boxes – in May, EPIC Risk Management urged the government to ban the sale of video game loot box products to under 18s and ensure better education for parents.

“We believe more needs to be done to prevent harm among children and young people,” GambleAware’s statement read last week.

While acknowledging the government’s recognition of risks in its response to the call for evidence on loot boxes in video games, GambleAware has openly called upon the government to consider legislative action on their use.

“We look forward to the publication of the ‘Video Games Research Framework’ later this year, which we hope will guide and inform legislation to protect children and young people from gambling related harms through video games,” the statement concluded.

Earlier this month, GambleAware launched its new Aftercare and Community Resilience programme in a bid to further support those that suffer from gambling-related harm.