Cork senator says young people are 'sleepwalking into gambling' with gaming 'loot boxes'

Cork senator says young people are 'sleepwalking into gambling' with gaming 'loot boxes'

Fine Gael’s Senator Jerry Buttimer believes that the loot boxes used in gaming are step towards gambling for young people, which needs to be tackled.

A CORK senator is seeking regulation of loot boxes used in gaming.

Fine Gael’s Senator Jerry Buttimer believes that the loot boxes used in gaming are a step towards gambling for young people, which needs to be tackled.

He has described use of the boxes as a “modern form of gambling for young people” and says that gambling reform is absolutely necessary, to include the regulation of loot boxes.

A loot box is a virtual containers of hidden and random in-game items or ‘loot’ that a player can use in the game. These include cosmetic items, weapons or armour for the player’s character for example. The boxes can be bought with virtual or real money.

Senator Buttimer said it is important to raise awareness about loot boxes and to highlight the need for regulation.

He said: “It is an area that has to be regulated.” 

During a debate in the Seanad on gambling, Senator Buttimer said: “It is about capturing young people. Their experience of gambling is beginning at a very early and formative age. It is an insidious form of gambling and we have an obligation and a duty to work to ensure that we change and reform behaviour for a generation. 

"If we do not, we will pay a significant cost.” 

Cork-born psychologist and gamer Eon Barry, who has spoken with elected representatives in relation to loot boxes, said he is concerned that they will lead young people into developing gambling habits.

He said: “Children are walking into digital casinos and are sleepwalking into gambling.”

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