One of the great things about technology is that it allows more people than ever to have a voice and a platform. While the entertainment industry used to be reserved for those of a certain age and opportunities – companies like Youtube now allow individuals of all ages to turn on a camera and gain a substantial following. For example, last year, a 7-year old named Ryan was able to earn $22 million thanks to millions enjoying his channel, where he reviews various toys.
However, this now brings its own new set of challenges. We know that because there are children watching many of these Youtube channels, that they might be much more susceptible to influence. This isn’t lost on the Irish government, which is introducing legislation to address the issue.
The main point of concern is the fact that there are “mystery boxes”, also known as “loot boxes”, that actually allows users to obtain rewards, but requires them to pay money to find out whether they have actually won a reward or not. The concept of loot boxes has remained controversial for some time now, and The New York Times has even questioned whether it was technically “gambling”.
United States Youtuber Jake Paul is one of the most famous Youtubers on the planet, and has promoted a mystery box website called Mystery Brand to his following, which includes almost 18 million subscribers. He has been since criticized widely for doing so.
It seems pretty obvious that many individuals, including respected politicians, are concerned that if children continue to play with “mystery boxes”, that it could potentially lead to an adult gambling addiction.
Martin Heydon of the Fine Gael party stated that the upcoming Gambling Control Bill will address the issue. That apparently isn’t at all, as he stated that changes will also be made to the Gaming and Lotteries Act. He stated about “loot boxes”: “That’s a very dangerous thing for a 10, 11, or 12 year-old to become accustomed to.”
Neil Mathew has been writing about technology and business for years now, and is interested in how emerging technologies will affect the gambling/casino sector.