What’s The Connection Between Video Games And Gambling

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Gaming, gambling, and young people

Gaming, gambling, and young peopleVideo games can be a lot of fun, but studies have shown that there are strong links between gaming and gambling. 

Lots of video games have elements of gambling and children as young as 10 are playing these types of games. When we surveyed young people we learnt that 40% of young people play video games that have gambling components. Players spend real money buying virtual currency, skins or opening loot boxes, so they can advance further in a video game. Often these games normalise monetised gambling among young people, and can lead to gambling harm in the future.

What you don’t know about your child’s gaming

What simulated gambling looks like 

Simulated gambling in online games mimics gambling with features like sounds and actions but does not offer the chance to win or lose real money, instead players spend real money to purchase in app currency to prolong their gameplay. These games span a wide range of platforms from gaming consoles, phone apps, social media and even smart televisions. Some examples of simulated gambling include:

Are rewards you can win or buy during a game, but what's in a box is chance based, so it's a lot like gambling. The prizes may character skins, weapons, or other enhancements to help a player progress. The costs of purchasing loot boxes can add up when using real money.

Sometimes goods such as skins or virtual weapons can be obtained through chance and have value outside the game. They can be sold, traded, or gambled on online marketplaces, such as illegal skin and esports gambling websites, for money.

These look and work like games in a casino but, instead of playing for money, you win points or in-game currency like coins or jewels. Often the odds change mid game depending on if the player is winning or losing so that they never become bored. Sometimes players spend more to unlock special features or collect more points.


Finding from the NSW Youth Gambling Study 2020

A lot of young people purchase loot boxes (36.5%) and are spending $10 on average per month, although some young people are spending more than $100 per month purchasing loot boxes.

Young people who bought loot boxes and played video games with gambling components were more likely to gamble on lotteries, scratchies, keno and bingo as well as informal private betting, and esports and fantasy sports betting.

Young people who engaged in simulated gambling apps, demo games, simulated gambling on social networking sites or betting with in-game items were more likely to spend money on all forms of gambling.

While only a small percentage of young people are using real money (1.4%) to bet on esports, it is likely this will increase with more young people intending to bet on esports in the future (15.1%).

Young people classified as problematic gamers were more likely to gamble.

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influencetheir attitudes toward gambling? Learn about
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GambleAware acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land and we pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. GambleAware is an inclusive support service.
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