Loot boxes, gambling and problem gambling among young people: results from a cross-sectional online survey

Wardle, H. and Zendle, D. (2021) Loot boxes, gambling and problem gambling among young people: results from a cross-sectional online survey. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 24(4), pp. 267-274. (doi: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0299) (PMID:33103911) (PMCID:PMC8064953)

[img] Text
223566.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



With the introduction of gambling-like features within video games (e.g., loot boxes) new forms of hybrid-gambling products have emerged, yet little is known about their relationship to gambling and problem gambling among those most likely to engage: young people. This article examines the relationship between the purchase of loot boxes, gambling behavior, and problem gambling among young people ages 16–24. Cross-sectional data were analyzed from wave 1 of the Emerging Adults Gambling Survey, an online survey of 3,549 people, aged 16–24. Data were weighted to reflect the age, sex, and regional profile of Great Britain. Measured included past-year purchase of loot boxes, engagement in 17 different forms of gambling (weekly, yearly, and weekly spend); and problem gambling status. Other covariates include impulsivity and sociodemographic status. Young adults who purchase loot boxes are more likely to be gamblers and experience problem gambling than others. In unadjusted regression models, the odds of problem gambling were 11.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] 7.6 to 16.9; p < 0.001) times higher among those who purchased loot boxes with their own money. This relationship attenuated but remained significant (odds ratio 4.5, 95% CI 2.6–7.9) when gambling participation, impulsivity, and sociodemographic factors were taken into account. The purchase of loot boxes was highly associated with problem gambling, the strength of this association being of similar magnitude to gambling online on casino games or slots. Young adults purchasing loot boxes within video games should be considered a high-risk group for the experience of gambling problems.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This article was funded by Wellcome, grant number: 200306/Z/15/Z.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wardle, Professor Heather
Authors: Wardle, H., and Zendle, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN (Online):2152-2723
Published Online:27 October 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Heather Wardle and David Zendle
First Published:First published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 24(4): 267-274
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record