Video games and gambling are increasingly mentioned in one breath. That much is certain. It is obvious that there are large overlaps and that the two areas are moving ever closer together. On one hand, there is the area of eSport betting where fans can bet on the best of the gamers who compete in tournaments, the prize money of which you have long overtaken in some classic sports. On the other hand, there are small scandals and injustice offers such as skin gambling, which dominated the relevant media a few months ago because it had invited children and young people to illegal gambling.
How Gaming Became Gambling
But games and gambling actually have a lot in common. You could say that the offers of online bookmakers as we know them today have long had an impact on the gaming industry and many of the big titles, including those that are represented in eSports, have long had a certain amount of gambling anchored in them. Legal and unregulated and thus more questionable than a regulated range of online bets.
Gambling in modern video games – some illegal tricks by developers
The actual game of chance in video games depends on an indirect connection with skin gambling. To briefly illustrate again: With skin gambling, a division that at least appears to be prohibited by law, the gamblers wagered on suitable portals for cosmetic content, such as a weapon camouflage, for video games. These were quickly worth several hundred euros. A black market for esports betting. These so-called skins were able to achieve this also due to the way the objects are assigned in games. Partly free to play, partly only via payment, you can usually buy so-called loot boxes or card packs in today’s games, even in those that have already been paid for at full price. The prices easily reach an equivalent of up to one euro or more per pack. It is therefore comparable to collective stickers for Panini albums, which are also sold in sealed random packs that work like loot boxes.
Gambling laws have video games on their radar
Gambling laws are becoming stricter. Laws that regulate casino, sports, and poker online (dewapoker online) also regulate video gaming. The well-known publisher Blizzard already had to rethink. In China, the gambling law prohibits the sale of trading cards for the Hearthstone card game or other games undercover. The marketing tricks are actually illegal there. However, these games are financed by selling packs. If the publisher now had to disclose which cards the purchase contains, then, of course, no player would buy this pack.
Ultimately, the business model would be gone, as would the balance in the game that was precisely designed for this model. Blizzard has now found a way to circumvent the law for such video games in China. There, players no longer buy packs but a digital in-game currency. This is not forbidden but is quite useless overall. The point is: With every purchase, players receive gift packs of cards. And since there is no money for the cards, but only for the digital currency, the gambling law in China is satisfied.