New research from the Gambling Health Alliance (GHA) has found that 31 per cent of 11-to-16-year-old gamers have lost track of how much they spend on loot boxes.
Furthermore, in the report, it is found that 23 per cent of young people have paid money to open loot boxes. Meanwhile, 33 per cent of those that do spend money on the in-game purchase option feel they are not in control of their spending.
Moreover, it has been found that one in four gamers will spend more than £100 ($134) on loot boxes for a game before they are done with it.
Overall, one in six respondents claimed to have taken money from their parents, without permission, to buy loot crates. Meanwhile, nine per cent borrowed money that they could not repay, while 11 per cent used a guardian's credit card.
At 24 per cent, nearly one-quarter of respondents claim to be addicted to loot boxes. Moreover, 44 per cent feel angry and frustrated due to feeling cheated by the in-game purchase option.
Due to its findings, the Gambling Health Alliance has petitioned the government to class loot boxes as a form of gambling, which would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase them.
"While we await the Government response to that consultation and make the legislative changes we want to see, we need to do what we can to make games containing loot boxes safer to protect young players from chasing wins and getting into financial difficulties," reads the report.
Of course, GHA is not the first organisation to ask for a new classification for loot boxes. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) first suggested that the UK parliament should regulate loot boxes as a form of gambling last year.
In September, the UK government called for evidence, both positive and negative, on whether or not loot boxes are indeed a method of gambling.
Beware the loot
"We know that many teenagers will be unwrapping video games for Christmas, and while we know they give a huge amount of enjoyment for many, we are concerned that games containing loot boxes are having an impact on the finances of young people," said GHA chairman Duncan Stephenson.
"While this is a small survey of gamers, our research suggests that the drive to play games containing loot boxes is encouraging many to beg, borrow and steal – loot boxes really are the gift that keeps on taking. Aside from the financial cost, our latest survey with gamers suggests that the fixation with loot boxes can lead to classic symptoms of addiction, including mood swings, problems sleeping, and impacting on their social life.
"We are calling for parents to be aware of the risks of loot boxes when buying presents this Christmas, and to boycott games with these predatory mechanics until we see them classified as a form of gambling and removed from games played by under 18s."