The UK NHS has called for a loot box ban in a statement on the official NHS website. The NHS, National Health Service are the primary public healthcare providers for the United Kingdom and this declaration was part of a long term plan to improve mental health. It was the mental health director of the NHS, Claire Murdoch who called for the ban to be put in place. She warns that the games are in danger of “setting kids up for addiction.” She also cites figures from the Gambling Commission that show 55,000 children in the UK have been classified as having a gambling problem and the NHS estimates there are 400,000 in all of the UK with gambling addiction issues. She also cited a report by the Royal Society of Public health that found more than half of all young people see loot boxes and skin betting as forms of highly addictive gambling.
In the statement, Ms. Murdoch said, “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. 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.”
She has called on gaming companies to do the following:
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