National Health Service (NHS) England's mental health director Claire Murdoch has called on the games industry to ban loot boxes from their products, insisting they're setting children up for addiction further down the line.
According to the statement posted on NHS England's website, building gambling tasks into games is dangerous and is "setting kids up for addiction".
"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", she said.
The NHS will be opening a new treatment centre as well as 14 new gambling clinics across the UK, which will be dealing with mental health issues stemming from addiction. This initiative was further fueled by growing concerns about gaming addiction, which have been cropping up for a while now.
"Young people’s health is at stake, and although the NHS is stepping up with these new, innovative services available to families through our Long Term Plan, we cannot do this alone, so other parts of society must do what they can to limit risks and safeguard children’s wellbeing", Murdoch added.
According to the latest statistics from the Gambling Commission, around 55,000 children are classified as having a gambling problem, while the total amount of children and adults with a serious gambling problem goes as high up as 400,000.
The announcement calls on the games industry to:
- Ban sales of games with loot boxes that encourage children to gamble
- Introduce fair and realistic spending limits to prevent people from spending thousands in games
- Make clear to users what percentage chance they have of obtaining the items they want before they purchase loot boxes
- Support parents by increasing their awareness on the risks of in-game spending