The NHS’s mental health director has called for the end of loot boxes in games. In a blasting statement released by the NHS, Claire Murdoch asserted that loot boxes in games are setting up children to gamble.
An End To Loot Boxes
The statement effectively calls for the ban of games with loot boxes that encourage children to engage gambling or chance-based systems. On top of this, she advises that gamers should be prevented from spending unrealistic amounts of money on the chance-based mechanics and to make clear to players what the actual chance of getting the loot they want is.
The statement makes reference to two cases. A 16-year-old who put over £2,000 into a sports game and a 15-year-old who lost £1,000 in a shooter. The statement continues to point out that, based on the gambling commission’s current reports, there are currently 55,000 children classed as having a gambling problem in England.
Murdoch said “Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes. No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end.”
Can They Be Banned?
Belgium has already banned paid loot boxes from any game sold or played in the country. Around the same time as the Battlefield II controversy, the Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens effectively made the case against having them in video games, especially those aimed at children.
“Mixing games and gambling, especially at a young age, is dangerous for mental health,” said Geens. “We must ensure that children and adults are not presented with games of chance when they are looking for fun in a video game.”