Denmark: New Study Investigates the Importance of Gambling-like Elements in Gaming

On Thursday, the Danish Gaming Authority (Spillemyndigheden), in collaboration with the Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE), published the results of a research on gambling and gaming among children and young people in Denmark.

Spillemyndigheden Unveils the Results of a New Study

The new research was conducted among 107 children and young people aged 10-19. Additionally, five young adults aged 20-25 participated as well. The common thing between all participants in the research was that they have all experienced problems with gaming and/or gambling.

Spillemyndigheden explained that the new research was conducted as a part of the initiatives against gambling addiction dating back to June 2018. The research did not point out a specific plan of action, but it rather sought to investigate the “importance of gambling-related elements in online gaming,” as seen from the perspective of young adults and children. With that in mind, a recommendation was included in the research.

Currently, many modern games offer plenty of additional weapon skins, outfits and other customizable improvements, which the players receive by opening loot boxes. Usually, a player would purchase a key or another virtual token by using real money to open the loot box and receive the reward. However, the reward itself is random, regardless of the paid amount to open the loot box.

This is precisely the gambling element that many children and young adults may not see even if they are involved in that activity. In that line of thought, the research found that this aspect of gaming can be especially problematic for children. A prime reason why is because children are yet to develop a “critical sense that enables them to understand that it is actually real money that is being withdrawn when making a quick purchase in a game.” Additionally, the research revealed that the younger audience is further pushed into this by influencers “who indirectly market gambling-related microtransactions.”

Parents Need to Create Framework for Their Children’s Microtransactions

Gaming, in general, is viewed as an entertaining activity. However, according to the study, gaming challenges gamers’ everyday lives. The whitepaper unveiled that more than half of the participants in the study admitted that some parts of their life, such as education or family, have been impacted due to the many hours spent gaming. Prolonged gaming also means that gamers have spent more money and energy on the activity.

A key note that the report provided is that parents need to be more involved in their children’s online activities. In particular, parents need to take co-responsibility for those activities and establish “a reasonable framework for their children’s use of microtransactions.”

The report acknowledged that currently, microtransactions within the gaming industry are incredibly easy to access and difficult to avoid. This is why it said that “the gaming industry’s business models in relation to the prevalence of microtransactions and gambling-related elements” would need to be investigated further.

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