Hi-Tech

UKGC Warns Skin Betting Becomes Increasingly Popular among Children and Young People

UKGC Warns Skin Betting Becomes Increasingly Popular among Children and Young People

That 11 percent makes up a relatively significant size of the total gambling population in this age group. Skins betting sites allow gamers to wager skins that were rewarded in-game or purchased for money on a digital marketplace.

The Gambling Commission warned that children were experiencing gambling in a "consequence-free environment" through free-to-play casino games on social media or within some computer games.

The five to six per cent of children who had gambled with skins online in the previous month compares to about 11 per cent who had gambled just the previous week on things such as private bets with friends and lottery scratchcards (something that's technically illegal). In a position paper from last March, the Commission argued by this same logic that betting with virtual items should be regulated in the same ways as any other type of gambling, with companies that facilitate it needing to have gambling licenses in order to do so.

Overall, the report shows that around 370,000 11-16 year-olds spent their own money on gambling in the past week, in England, Scotland and Wales.

Since skins won on such a website could theoretically be sold and turned back into real-world money, critics say betting with skins is unlicensed gambling.

The report, titled "Young people and gambling 2017", states that 11 per cent of children between between 11 and 16 had bet with in-game items while playing computer or app-based games at some point in their lives.

Reporting on these statistics, the BBC featured a case study of a student who began gambling with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins at 15. That is exactly why some opponents of skin betting called an unlicensed form of gambling. As explained above, some games also offer their players the opportunity to dispose of certain skins by selling them, with rarer skins often being traded for a lot of money.




According to the BBC the UK Gambling Commission considers dealing with video games to be "high on their list of priorities".

Craig Douglas, a prominent gamer known as Nepenthez, and his business partner Dylan Rigby, were fined £91,000 ($112,000) and £164,000 respectively after admitting offences under the UK's Gambling Act.

"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 findings will add to fears children are being exposed to gambling via social media and the internet.

The men ran a website called FUT Galaxy that was connected to the Federation Internationale de Football Association video game and let gamers gamble virtual currency.

Some games providers have put more safeguards in place, but numerous sites are based overseas.

"When we talk to people about skin gambling, we normally get a look of complete confusion".


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