The Dutch Gaming Authority (KSA) has awarded prizes totalling €4,000 ($4,151) for two gambling-related theses.
Leonard Delank, a master’s student at the University of Groningen and Newcastle University, wrote a paper on loot boxes; items that feature in many video games and offer players a random reward.
In his thesis, Delank drew on the theories of 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who argued that people have a moral obligation to do the right thing.
Ultimately, he came to the conclusion that loot boxes are not ethical. For his paper, the KSA awarded Delank €2,500.
Channah Osinga, a graduate of the University of Amsterdam, analysed data from 28 gambling addicts for her bachelor’s thesis.
She obtained this data while undertaking an internship at the psychiatry department of the Amsterdam Medical Centre.
Osinga suspected that gambling addicts would display behaviour contrary to people who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
“OCD is in a sense the opposite of a gambling addiction. People with OCD are too uncertain,” said Osinga, adding: “They don’t trust their previous choices.
“In people who are addicted to gambling, we expected the opposite: overconfidence. Interestingly enough, they were only when there was something to be won.
“So it seems that people with a gambling addiction are sensitive to rewards and especially overestimate themselves in an environment that elicits gambling behaviour.”
For her thesis, she was awarded €1,500. Both prizes were presented by KSA Chairman René Jansen.
The KSA also gave an honourable mention to Damiaan Reijnaers for his bachelor’s thesis on the use of artificial intelligence in poker.
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