NHS mental health director says loot boxes encourage kids to gamble “under the radar”

NHS mental health director Claire Murdoch has called for a swift and total ban on loot box availability in video games, saying that the games industry is pushing kids towards gambling “under the radar” and asking people to focus on nixing “gambling addiction risks.”

“Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes,” said Murdoch in a new NHS report. “No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.”

“Young people’s health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new, innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children’s wellbeing.”

To tackle the first stages of gambling addiction in young people, it’s being recommended that there should be a ban on sales of games with loot boxes in them, and “an introduction of fair and realistic spending limits to prevent people from spending thousands in games.” It should also “be made clear to users what percentage chance they have of obtaining the items they want before they purchase loot boxes”, with parents being made more aware of the risks of in-game spending going forwards

Around 55,000 children in the UK are currently classed as having a gambling problem.

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