Video game

Gambling in Video Games & Vice Versa – Esports News UK

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Ithe line between gambling and video games is blurring. Betting on esports, video game themed slot machines, gacha games and loot box mechanics – all these tie gambling and video games together in one way or another.

Here’s a look at the legislation and status of gambling in video games and esports and the role of video games in online gambling.

Is Online Gambling Gaming?

It’s a matter of viewpoint and definition whether you consider online gambling part of video games in general and esports more specifically. Many would say it’s not, but there are some crossovers with the likes of microtransactions and digital packs with random items like FIFA Ultimate Team. Let’s look at poker.

  • Poker is a gambling game
  • There are online versions of this game. Software with animation and programming and NPC-VI… some would say that makes virtual poker some kind of video game – others would disagree
  • If you can go online, connect with a server, and play with other players over the internet, it becomes a type of multiplayer game, but it’s not a traditional video game
  • If there is a provider of some sorts, offering prize money in a virtual online poker tournament, does poker become a competitive sport?
  • Is an online poker competition an esports event? (many would say no)

We already made our case for the argument here. With the personal skill, logic and determination playing a part in whether you win or not, there are some parallels between esports and online poker tournaments.

Chess and other board games are excluded from events like the Olympics because they are not considered a physical sport. Neither are most esports.

Online gambling and esports get even more mixed up if you look at sports betting. Along with bets on football games or horse races, many betting websites now include betting on esports events.

At the same time, more and more online casino games have been compared to video games. Whether it’s quick little apps on your phone next to regular mobile games, or the themes and actual storylines added to slot machines. An online casino like Casino Euro even offers games like Monopoly and games from other famous franchises to attract gamers to their midst.

In this review of Casino Euro ( you can look at the list of different game studios and software providers and of course the mention of video game poker and tournaments. The flashy images and graphics will remind some of the video game or mobile game industry, especially when you consider tablet and smartphone gaming.

Is Gaming Gambling?

It’s a question that has kept some studios on their toes. Mostly, because gambling and video games are difficult to merge when you look at it from a legal standpoint.

Most countries have a gambling legislation that is very strict about the protection of minors and prevention of general gambling addiction. This is what makes games with a gacha or loot box functionality such a controversial subject.

It All Began with Gacha Games

The whole gacha trend started in Japan. It’s based on little vending machines that include capsule toys. In order to get the whole set, a collector would have to pay many coins and hope for good odds. These gashapon machines are a big deal overseas, there are entire shops with multiple stories filled top to bottom with the machines.

It’s actually Konami that picked this concept up for mobile games. In 2010, they added it to the game Dragon Collection, a dungeon-crawler with card elements. They implemented a lottery that would let you win powerful cards for real-life money.

It was worse than that, actually, because often you would have to collect a whole set of exactly the right cards to be able to build a stronger one. The potentially insane amounts of money people had to pay for their desired cards got this form of gacha banned from mobile games in 2002.

Gacha & Loot Boxes Today

Thus, the loophole of ‘box gacha’ was born. Items now come in boxes, and it is clearly stated how big the probabilities on each possible item are. We still see this loot box strategy in video games. Though outside of mobile games, they mostly contain skins and other cosmetics to prevent pay to win mechanics, especially in PVP-multiplayer games.

Still, games like Fire Emblem Heroes or Genshin Impact make use of this — let’s be real — gambling mechanic to gain more powerful characters. Though you do not have to spend real-life money to be able to play the game or even win loot boxes, there are many ways to make it tempting.

The more you ‘spin’ the more likely it becomes for you to get the desired item. No wonder some gamers end up spending their money or their parents’ money playing loot box and gacha games.


The profit model of gaming companies merges video games and gambling mechanics more and more. There is, however, a difference between marketing these games to adults or to children.

The latter should be examined critically. Long form games with story and anime characters can tempt children into playing gacha games. The loot box mechanic, even if it’s optional, is a quick way to make them spend money on the game. On top of that, these companies add mechanics to reward the players for spending a lot of money in one sitting.

Especially in easily accessible games like mobile games, those strategies should be strongly limited. Online gambling, also in a video game form, belongs in online casinos. These websites are specifically built to provide these services and therefore have a professional framework based on gambling laws, child protection and addiction prevention.

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