Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Loot box: A nexus of Internet gambling and video gaming

Session Title

Session 2-3-A: Problem Gambling and Emerging Technology

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

29-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Psychology | Social Work

Abstract

A loot box is a virtual item for purchase in many video games that features betting money on elements of chance. This study aims to investigate the characteristics of video game users who purchase loot boxes and the links of loot box purchase to Internet gambling engagement and problem video gaming and gambling. Cross-sectional, self-report data on video game and Internet gambling engagement, and loot box purchase were collected from 577 adult video game users (Mean age = 28.82 years, 62.64% male) via an online survey. Standardized measures were used to assess participants’ severity of problem gambling, problem video gaming, and mental distress symptoms. Almost half of the sample (46.63%) reported having ever purchased loot boxes in video games. Compared to those who never purchased a loot box, participants who bought loot boxes reported significantly higher levels of video game and Internet gambling engagement, more binge gaming and gambling episodes, greater problem video gaming and gambling severity, and more mental distress symptoms. Regression analyses revealed that purchasing loot boxes emerged as a significant predictor of greater severity of both problem gambling and problem video gaming, respectively.

Implications: Loot box brings an element of gambling into many popular video games and could prime video game users to engage in Internet gambling. This study increases our understanding regarding the role of loot box in problem gambling and video gaming behaviors. Implications for regulation, prevention and treatment will be discussed.

Keywords

Loot box; Loot crate; Internet gambling; Problem gambling; Video gaming; Internet Gaming Disorder

Author Bio

Wen Li Anthony, PhD, is an assistant professor at Rutgers University and a research affiliate with the Center for Gambling Studies. Dr. Anthony’s research focuses on problem technology use, including video gaming disorder, problem Internet use, and Internet gambling. Specifically, her research explores the connections between video games and Internet gambling.

Lia Nower, PhD, Professor at Rutgers University and Director of Center for Gambling Studies. Dr. Nower's research interests include disordered gambling, substance abuse, and other addictive disorders; forensic issues in mental health; and psychometric measurement and research methodology.

Funding Sources

This study is funded by Rutgers University School of Social Work Internal Seed Grant

Competing Interests

Authors claim no financial or non-financial competing interests over the last three years.

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May 29th, 1:45 PM May 29th, 3:10 PM

Loot box: A nexus of Internet gambling and video gaming

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

A loot box is a virtual item for purchase in many video games that features betting money on elements of chance. This study aims to investigate the characteristics of video game users who purchase loot boxes and the links of loot box purchase to Internet gambling engagement and problem video gaming and gambling. Cross-sectional, self-report data on video game and Internet gambling engagement, and loot box purchase were collected from 577 adult video game users (Mean age = 28.82 years, 62.64% male) via an online survey. Standardized measures were used to assess participants’ severity of problem gambling, problem video gaming, and mental distress symptoms. Almost half of the sample (46.63%) reported having ever purchased loot boxes in video games. Compared to those who never purchased a loot box, participants who bought loot boxes reported significantly higher levels of video game and Internet gambling engagement, more binge gaming and gambling episodes, greater problem video gaming and gambling severity, and more mental distress symptoms. Regression analyses revealed that purchasing loot boxes emerged as a significant predictor of greater severity of both problem gambling and problem video gaming, respectively.

Implications: Loot box brings an element of gambling into many popular video games and could prime video game users to engage in Internet gambling. This study increases our understanding regarding the role of loot box in problem gambling and video gaming behaviors. Implications for regulation, prevention and treatment will be discussed.