NEW PAPER: Use of video-game ‘loot boxes’ and associations with problem gambling

Congratulations to Gabriel Brooks, for his first CGR publication in Addictive Behaviors, looking at the links between video game loot box engagement in adult gamers, & problem gambling and gambling-related cognitive distortions. The link to the UBC press release is here, and Gabe’s interview on the Global BC breakfast news is here.

The original paper is available here, open access until June.

Across 2 online samples of adult gamers (MTurk n=144, UBC n=113), 90% had opened loot boxes, 50% reported spending money on loot boxes, ~1/3 reported selling prizes from loot boxes (selling only possible in some games!). Most (68%, 86%) viewed loot boxes as a form of gambling. Five items tapping risky use of loot boxes (eg “Once I open a Loot Box, I often feel compelled to open another”, “I have bought more Loot Boxes after failing to receive valuable items”) formed a unidimensional scale, and this scale correlated ~0.5 with PGSI gambling severity & gambling cognitions. Collectively, gambling variables explained 37% of variance in risky lootbox use, contributing above the association with problematic gaming (IGDS), which we interpret as indicating distinct financial harms more than excessive time from loot boxes.