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Loot boxes potentially groom young people for gambling

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Loot boxes potentially groom young people for gambling
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New research funded by the NSW Government’s Responsible Gambling Fund, shows young adults are more likely to gamble if exposed to in-game purchases and loot boxes in video games.

Director of the Office of Responsible Gambling, Natalie Wright, said video game loot boxes are virtual games of chance that offer players a randomised reward when opened.

“Loot boxes can resemble gambling since players invest time and sometimes money in obtaining them, then receive a random reward of uncertain value such as weapons or outfits for their characters,” Ms Wright said.

“They are a growing concern because of the risk and reward elements associated with them that is similar to gambling and there are currently no age limits to play these games.”

The study by Central Queensland University (CQU), surveyed adolescents about their gaming experiences. Some of their key findings showed 62 per cent of the games they looked at offered loot boxes, and about a third of respondents had purchased a loot box in the last 12 months.

Additionally, the median monthly expenditure on loot boxes for adolescents aged 12 to 17 was $50 and $72 for young adults aged 18 to 24 years.

Overall the CQU research report found:

  • Loot boxes are common in the best-selling video games – the research report looked at 82 best-selling video games and revealed 62 per cent (51) had loot boxes.
  • In the survey sample, almost all of the respondents played at least one video game with loot boxes within the last 12 months (93 per cent).
  • Compared to other purchasers, young adults, aged 18 to 24 years old, who had recently purchased loot boxes for the first time, were more likely to have gambling problems. However, there was no evidence that earlier experiences with loot boxes predict later gambling problems.
  • Young people who had either opened, bought or sold loot boxes within the last 12 months were also more likely to have:
  • gambled in the last 12 months (young adults)
  • gambled more frequently (young adults)
  • spent more money gambling (young adults)
  • suffered more gambling problems (adolescents and young adults)
  • suffered more gambling-related harm (young adults), and
  • endorsed more positive attitudes towards gambling (adolescents  and young adults).

To view a copy of the report, please visit the Office of Responsible Gambling website.

For those needing help with gambling issues, help is available 24/7 on 1800 858 888 or through www.gamblinghelp.nsw.gov.au.

Australia

PUBLIC HEARINGS TO BE HELD AS PART OF THE STAR CASINO’S LICENCE REVIEW

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PUBLIC HEARINGS TO BE HELD AS PART OF THE STAR CASINO'S LICENCE REVIEW
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Public hearings will be carried out early next year as part of a review of The Star Casino.

The review, which is considering how effectively The Star is complying with its statutory obligations and whether it remains suitable to hold a casino licence, started four weeks ago after Adam Bell SC was appointed by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA).

Mr Bell has advised ILGA that he considers it in the public’s interest to hold public hearings on matters including but not limited to The Star’s maintenance and administration of systems to counter money laundering and infiltration by organised crime.

ILGA is fully supportive of Mr Bell’s decision, with hearings expected to be held in March 2022. The publicly available report will be due to ILGA by 30 June 2022.

Regular reviews of casinos in NSW are required under the Casino Control Act. The last review of The Star was conducted in 2016 by Jonathan Horton QC.

 

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Australia

Star Sydney Casino Reopens After Three-month Closure

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Star Entertainment has confirmed that the Star Sydney has been allowed to reopen for fully vaccinated customers. The venue will operate at a limited capacity of 1 person per 4 square metres indoors and 1 person per 2 square metres outside.

Casino guests will also be ordered to wear masks and to remain seated while eating or drinking. All of Star Sydney’s staff have been fully vaccinated. It is expected restrictions will be eased once New South Wales reaches an 80% vaccination rate.

Meanwhile, Star Queensland has increased its capacity to 1 person per 2 square metres. Patrons no longer have to be seated while eating or drinking. However, the wearing of masks remains mandatory indoors.

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Australia

Australia: NATIONAL RESEARCH REVEALS ONLINE HABITS DOUBLE IN A DECADE

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Australia: NATIONAL RESEARCH REVEALS ONLINE HABITS DOUBLE IN A DECADE
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A two-year gambling study has revealed more Australians than ever are reaching for their phone to have a punt, with the number of online gamblers doubling in the past decade.

The Second National Study of Interactive Gambling in Australia surveyed more than 15,000 Australians and found 17.5 per cent of adults had gambled online in 2019, up from 8.1 per cent in 2010.

The study, funded by Gambling Research Australia, found that overall gambling participation decreased from 64.3 per cent in 2010, to 56.9 per cent in 2019.

Professor Nerilee Hing, from CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory said Australia’s most popular forms of online gambling were lotteries (10.1 per cent of adults), race betting (5.9 per cent) and sports betting (5.8 per cent).

“This growth in online gambling has been driven by faster internet speeds, the convenience of betting on smartphone apps, extensive advertising and inducements, and new betting options like multi-bets,” Professor Hing said.

“New online activities have also been introduced, including e-sports, fantasy sports, skin gambling, and loot boxes.”

The study found the average online gambler was likely to be a young male, better educated than the average Australian, in a de facto relationship, and to gamble across multiple activities.

The Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments are currently implementing the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Wagering (the National Framework).

The intent of the National Framework is to bring Australian consumer protection measures up to date, to ensure they reflect best practice nationally, and are consistent across jurisdictions. The National Framework consists of 10 consumer protection measures that aim to reduce gambling harm.

This was also the first national study to examine the negative consequences of gambling for gamblers, their family and friends.

Overall, 9.1 per cent of Australian adults experienced some level of harm from their own gambling and 6.0 per cent from another person’s gambling. Online gamblers were twice as likely as land-based only gamblers to experience harm.

The findings from this study will further inform online gambling policy and consumer protection measures across Australia.

Gambling Research Australia is a national gambling research partnership between Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, and chaired by the NSW Government. GRA funds projects of national significance and contributed more than $1 million towards the Second National Study of Interactive Gambling in Australia.

CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory is a research initiative to support understanding of games of chance, through experiment, simulation, and observation.

Second National Study of Interactive Gambling in Australia researchers included CQUniversity team members Dr Alex Russell, Professor Matthew Rockloff, Professor Matthew Browne, Nancy Greer and Vijay Rawat, International researcher Dr Anne Salonen (National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland), Associate Professor Nicki Dowling and Dr Stephanie Merkouris (Deakin University), Dr Matthew Stevens (Charles Darwin University), Associate Professor Daniel King (Flinders University), and Linda Woo (former Executive Director of Policy and Projects, Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General).

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