A new report on gambling in video games is set to focus on skin betting in games like Counter-Strike, but not loot boxes.
Around half a million children a week gamble via video games, a new report by the UK Gambling Commission is expected to show.
The BBC has been given a preview of the report, but rather than current concerns about loot boxes the focus is on ‘skin betting’ in games like Counter-Strike.
The long-standing practise hit the headlines last year when a number of YouTubers were found to be encouraging young viewers to use gambling and lottery websites which they (unknown to their audience) also owned.
The primary games involved were FIFA, specifically the FIFA Ultimate Team mode, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).
CS:GO also seems to be a primary focus of the Gambling Commission report, specifically websites which allow players of any age to gamble over weapon skins and other cosmetic items for real money.
The game is published by Steam owner Valve, who has already been criticised for not cracking down hard enough on third party sites which enable gambling.
According to the BBC the UK Gambling Commission considers dealing with video games to be ‘high on their list of priorities’.
There is no mention of loot boxes though, which have been heavily criticised by government officials in Europe and North America but which the UK considers not to be gambling because real money is not involved.
That’s not strictly true when it comes to website that are able to exchange in-game currency and items for real money, particularly for games like FIFA, but CS:GO offers a more traditional target for the commission.
‘Because of these unlicensed skin betting sites, the safeguards that exist are not being applied and we’re seeing examples of really young people, 11 and 12-year-olds, who are getting involved in skin betting, not realising that it’s gambling’, said Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrison.
‘At one level they are running up bills perhaps on their parents’ PayPal account or credit card, but the wider effect is the introduction and normalisation of this kind of gambling among children and young people.’
The post UK Gambling Commission warns ½ million children involved in video game gambling appeared first on News Wire Now.