Gambling Commission warns parents over gambling on video
Commission is calling for parents to be vigilant to the dangers of gambling
associated with video games.
follows the publication of a Commission paper on virtual currencies, eSports
and social gaming.
The paper explains there has been an increase in the
popularity of unregulated third-party websites offering gamers the opportunity
to gamble on the outcome of video game tournaments with in-game items such as
decorative digital guns and knives (known as skins). One US report estimates
the global skins gambling market was worth between $3.9bn and $5.1bn in 2016.
Many of these sites are illegal and last month the Commission carried
out a first-of-its-kind prosecution of two men running a website parasitic upon
popular FIFA computer games.
Gambling Commission CEO Sarah Harrison
said: Mums and dads could be giving money to a child thinking that they
are playing a computer game when in fact they are gambling and this is a real
eSports with in-game-items is growing and we need to make sure all gambling is
fair, safe, crime-free and protects the young and vulnerable.
paper has received Government support: Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has backed the
She said: It is vital that any form of
gambling online is properly regulated and paramount that we protect children
and vulnerable people.
eSports is a phenomenon that gets bigger
every day and is enjoyed by millions, but it is a concern that there are
unlicensed websites jumping on the back of popular video games and encouraging
children to gamble.
The Gambling Commission has shown that it
will take action and prosecute but it is important that parents are vigilant
too and know about this risk to their children.
features a survey which indicates 8.5% of people have gambled on eSports and
90% of those that gambled had done so with in-game items (skins).
Ms Harrison added:
These unlicensed websites are a hidden form of gambling
theyre parasites feeding off popular video games, presenting a clear and
present danger to players including kids. Our prosecution last month
demonstrates that we wont hesitate to take action.
to wonder however of the validity of the survey suggesting that 8.5% of adults
have gambled on eSports. The most likely reasoning here is that people did not
understand what eSports meant when questioned. If true then 8.5% of the adult
population of the UK (about 50 million) is about 4.25 million
When reading the Gambling Commission's own statistics on
gambling participation we see that only 4% of the population participated in
sports betting so its highly unlikely that there are twice as many people
gambling on eSports. The commission is reviewing how it gets these figures as
they realise they are high.