Could a Passion for Video Gaming Lead to Gambling Addiction?
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Could a Passion for Video Gaming Lead to Gambling Addiction?

Some of the most popular video games in the gaming community are shooters.

There are so many titles which have acquired international fame such as FarCry, Call of Duty and Counter Strike Global Offensive, just to name a few.

It's been implied time and time again that playing video games could possibly alter one's mind and personality.

When discussing games such as those aforementioned, the automatic connection people make is that playing a game where the main goal is shooting other players and characters, would result in the player becoming inherently more violent as a person.

This is not only talk but has been proven to have some truth to it.

Could video gaming also affect players' minds in a way that leads to mental health conditions like addiction?

How video gaming could be the new gateway to gambling

A Canadian study has attempted to answer this question specifying how people who have an interest in playing video games could be more susceptible to falling into problem gambling.

Considering how easily accessible online casinos are nowadays, it is not at all surprising that online gamers would be curious to check them out.

The study led by Luke Clark of the University of British Columbia focused particularly on a new game mechanic being included in pc and video games which eerily resembles those featured in many online casino slots.

Loot Boxes vs. Slot Machine there any difference?

Many slot games present players with some rewards once they have wagered a certain amount of money in the game. It is well known that the best, highest-yielding slot features are unlocked quite a while after the player has started playing.

These features come in the form of multipliers, free spins or even cash rewards which is why Pragmatic Play's Drops & Wins tournaments are so popular every year.

In his study, Clark analysed how loot boxes, a game feature found in many mainstream games such as Overwatch and FIFA, are essentially the same thing as these casino slot game features.

Loot boxes are awarded to the player once they have achieved a certain amount of points. The more they play, the more points they earn, of course.

These in-game loot boxes also allow players to spend real money on various other rewards and features which could boost their progress and status in the game.

Concerns are rising internationally about whether these loot boxes could be considered gambling in disguise. Internationally, we have been seeing action being taken towards regulating their presence in video games.

The major concern lies in that, whereas a casino won't allow anyone under 18 years of age to join, video games are accessible to players of all ages, including younger kids and teenagers.

Many countries in the EU have decided to apply strict regulations to the release of games with these loot boxes in them, or have banned them completely. Belgium is a prime example, being one of the first EU countries to make this decision.

How skins from video games have become a gambling currency

Many shooter games pose another problem which could be considered a major catalyst of gambling addiction.

In games like CS:GO and Dota 2, players can purchase skins for their weapons. These skins are known for being rather pricey in-game purchases with an average price of about 110 CAD.

You may be familiar with skin-betting, a darker side of these shooter games and the skin rewards that Valve, the operator of Steam, had introduced as a new social aspect of the game.

While initially this was meant to incite the trading of skins among players, the system was very easily bypassed. Prices of these skins started skyrocketing and they quickly became a highly accessible currency to be bet on gambling websites.

Essentially, a player could use these skins on their casino of choice rather than using fiat or crypto money. They would start off their gambling journey with the value of the skin they decided to bet, ergo, if their skin was worth $300, that would essentially be the value of their deposit.

It is frighteningly easy to get involved in this activity seeing as it's actually possible through Steam and most online casinos which allow this require players to link their Steam accounts to be able to use skins as their currency.

Valve has publicly announced that skin gambling goes against the organisation's Terms of Service.

Skin gambling is illegal in fact, the majority of platforms which still allow this are not regulated, licensed platforms making this type of gambling the most dangerous on the web.

It is really easy to forget how much money one is spending when using skins as a currency.

Since their appearance in the gambling scene, the value of these skins could go up to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

The distinction between gambling and gaming is being lost

The traditional idea we once had was the Vegas cliche, flashing lights and glamorous nights of boozing. But with the presence of online casinos, this has changed completely.

Accessing an online gambling platform does not really make players feel like they're entering a gambling space.

The websites are designed in very creative ways, many of which display really no connection to casinos save for the slots and live casino games they offer in their library.

Some of these websites look so friendly and inviting making them that much more interesting to younger audiences.

Online gambling is also being advertised and enjoyed the same way video gaming is through streamers who share their gaming sessions on platforms such as Youtube, Kick or Twitch.

Game streaming has become popular quite a few years ago, with a few streamers acquiring such a large following that it earned them celebrity status and became their career.

We have recently seen an increase in the number of streamers who are sharing content almost exclusively centring online gambling. A few of the most popular ones are CasinoDaddy, FruitSlots and ClassyBeef.

These players normally play for real money and document all of their wins and losses. This content could have effects which fall on both sides of the spectrum.

On one side, it makes it very evident how easy it is to lose money playing these games. On the other, it is almost sensationalising big wins making the idea of online gambling that much more enticing.

Once again the major concern would be that this content is accessible to audiences of all ages, with younger kids and teens being the ones most susceptible to the dangers of gambling addiction in these cases.

About the authorClaude Gillet
336 articles
✅ Reviewed by Head of Content
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Since 2019, Claude has been editor-in-chief. His role is the most comprehensive, as he is responsible for publishing, editing and proofreading. All articles published on the site have been checked by him.

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