UBC Research Data

The gamblers of the future? Migration from loot boxes to gambling in a longitudinal study of young adults Brooks, Gabriel; Clark, Luke


This repository contains the SPSS datasheet & supporting data information for an upcoming publication: The gamblers of the future? Migration from loot boxes to gambling in a longitudinal study of young adults. Abstract: Cross-sectional studies have established a robust correlational link between loot box engagement and problem gambling, but the causal connections are unknown. This longitudinal study tested for ‘migration’ from loot box use to gambling initiation 6-months later. A sample of gamers (aged 18-26) was stratified into two subgroups at baseline: 415 non-gamblers and 221 gamblers. Self-reported engagement with video game microtransactions distinguished loot boxes and ‘direct purchase’ microtransactions (DPMs). Loot box expenditure and the Risky Loot Box Index (RLI) were tested as predictors of gambling initiation and spend at follow-up. At baseline, gamblers spent significantly more than non-gamblers on microtransactions. Among baseline non-gamblers, loot box expenditure and RLI predicted gambling initiation (logistic regressions) and later gambling spending (linear regressions). DPM expenditure did not predict gambling initiation or spend, underscoring the key role of randomized rewards. Exploratory analyses tested whether baseline gambling predicted loot box consumption (the ‘reverse pathway’): among loot box non-users, gambling-related cognitive distortions predicted subsequent loot box expenditure. These data provide empirical evidence for a migration from loot boxes to gambling. Preliminary evidence is also provided for a reverse pathway, of loot box initiation by gamblers. These findings support regulatory steps directed toward young gamers and those who gamble.

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