Are video game loot boxes associated with gambling among young Pacific adults in New Zealand?

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Dudley Gentles
Seini Taufa
Gerhart Berking
Philip Siataga
Pesio Ah-Honi
Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow


Video gaming, Pacific, gambling



There is concern that gaming by young Pacific people can lead to gambling, but this is unclear. This study looked at whether there was an association between buying a video game loot box and gambling.



We conducted an online survey via Facebook of Pacific (mostly Samoan) New Zealand gamers aged between 16-30 years inclusive with a non-Māori, non-Pacific comparison group. The online survey ran from the 21st of April 2020 till the 30th of June 2020 and disseminated via social media (Facebook and Instagram) using email. We tested whether there was any association between buying an in-game loot box with any gambling activity within the last six months among gamers.



The study included 828 participants with the Pacific group of n=402 and a comparison group of non-Māori, non-Pacific (nMnP, n=426). A typical Pacific gamer played nearly every day for two to five hours at a time. About 25% of gamers had bought a loot box and about a third of gamers had gambled recently. However, there was no association between buying a loot box and gambling (p=0.811) for Pacific, or for non-Māori, non-Pacific (p=0.727). In multiple logistic regression modelling, older age (OR=1.27, 95%CI [1.21,1.33]) was the only predictor of gambling.



We did not find any association between buying a loot box and gambling. A longitudinal study would ascertain if there was a link between the two.

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