Are gaming and gambling close to each other

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Experts in the gaming industry note that in recent years there has been an impact of elements of gambling entertainment in traditional computer games. As a result, the previously obvious boundary between gaming and gambling begins to blur.

In many games, mechanics such as opening loot boxes and skin gambling are beginning to appear, which makes them related to gambling entertainment. A recent survey in the United States showed that almost 40% of children whose age is in the range of 11-16 years old have online gambling experience.

Of this number, about a quarter of respondents admitted that they made bets on e-sports events or spent money on loot boxes. How do minors get access to such forms of entertainment? Most of them use debit or credit cards of adult family members – parents or older brothers and sisters. However, often they do not even tell them what exactly the money was spent on.


One of the most common ways to earn money for the creators of f2p games is the loot boxes (as one of the EA representatives said – virtual Kinder Surprises). 31% of children spent money on them. A loot box is a gift set containing items for the game (virtual items).

For example, it can be armor and guns for shooters or cards of football players for a sports simulator. However, its exact content is unknown, and the player can get particularly valuable, unique, and useless trash virtual items. Thus, when a loot box is opened – player gambles.

A classic example is FIFA football simulator. For the money, you can open a set containing cards of 5 football players and several game items (first-aid kits, endurance restoration, skill enhancers). There is a chance that the player will get Lionel Messi (one of the best possible player cards in the FIFA), however, usually, you’ll get trash player cards.

Often at the beginning of the game several loot boxes can be opened for free, as part of the training, and they can also be given with a limited frequency, for example, once a week or during special in-game events. This is done to attract players and develop a gambling interest in players’ minds.

What you should do as a parent?

The capabilities of modern gadgets allow you to set hidden restrictions on the ability to make purchases in the applications used. You can prevent any financial transactions from being used in installed applications or websites.

However, the child may be smart and independently remove such a lock. Therefore, the most effective way to control your kid is to simply never give your child your credit or debit card. If a child has his card, with the help of which, for example, he buys food for himself at school, make sure that this card is a debit card, not a credit card. It is better to transfer money to the child on this card more than once a month, but every week or even every day so that there is not a large amount of money there at once.

You can also attach the card to your mobile phone so that SMS notifications of completed purchases come to it. Several banks make it possible to block the ability to pay certain categories of goods with a card, in particular, digital goods.

The difference between gambling and computer games

The key difference between gambling and gaming is the possibility of making money. No matter how many loot boxes players will open, he will never come across a real amount of money, only digital goods useful for the game (which actually CAN be sold for real money).

Those children who play games with loot boxes and other similar game mechanics, in the future may start trying to play slots for free –

Free slot machines

From the game process, such a gambling mechanic like loot box not required in video games, it is not a key element of gameplay. However, with the help of loot boxes, developers increase their income. They use the desire of players to quickly obtain valuable items.

The states of leaders in the gaming industry employ professional psychologists who are well aware of the best way to “hook” a client into regular gaming purchases. Sometimes such players must “suffer”. For example, you can make a level that can’t be completed in f2p game in any way, but it seems that just a little is missing, and after another failure, offer the player a loot box with items useful for that level (or crystals which can be obtained only with real money purchase).

Many experts believe that such game mechanics is bad for the younger generation. You can simply allow players to earn valuable items, and not give them randomly for money. And although in such video games the player does not get money, digital things as a prize, they are of great value to him and therefore are perceived as a valuable reward. As a result, addiction is formed, although in the initial description of the game its gambling nature may not be mentioned.

In some European countries, such as Holland or Belgium, the law imposes restrictions on the use of gambling mechanics in regular games, especially in child-oriented applications.

Some experts even believe that the law should prohibit the use of loot boxes in any applications, except for those that belong to the “18+” category.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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