The games industry shouldn’t be ripping off children | Geraldine Bedell

The young must be protected from being exploited by online platforms

Last week, MPs called on the government to classify online loot boxes as gambling and in the process highlighted a scandal: the $137.9bn (£110bn) gaming industry makes much of its profit by ripping off children. Young people are being nudged, enticed and coerced not only to carry on playing but also paying.

Loot boxes – mystery objects in virtual treasure chests that players pay to open – resemble nothing so much as a lottery. Gamers spent $30bn on them worldwide in 2018, a figure that has been predicted to rise to $50bn in the next five years.

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