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Work by Paul Cairns and David Zendle featured in the BBC's Science Focus Magazine.

Posted on 17 December 2020

The researchers found a worrying link between problem gambling and video game loot boxes.

The major study, which was recently featured in the BBC's Science Focus Magazine, provided the first evidence of a potentially dangerous link between problem gambling and video game loot boxes.

The original research suggests problem gambling is more closely linked to loot box spending than to well-known risk factors like alcohol dependency and major drug problems.

Loot boxes are increasingly common in recent years and are available in highly popular games with around 40 million players worldwide each.

Dr Paul Cairns, from the Department of Computer Science at the University of York, said: “Due to the nature of this research it is impossible to tease apart whether we are seeing a situation in which spending on loot boxes leads to problem gambling or whether problem gambling leads to spending on loot boxes. It may, indeed be the case that both directions of causality are true.

Further information about the study can be found in the 2018 news item.

Read all about the study in the BBC's Science Focus Magazine.