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Non-UK Casinos have become a popular destination for UK gamblers seeking an escape from the increasing regulations in the gambling sector. After mounting pressure from social groups and the government, the UK Gambling Commission have taken a more active role in the betting industry and that has seen a clampdown on casinos. One area that has escaped their scrutiny is that of the video gaming scene, which is arguably on a similar level as the original casino scene.  

Just as there was a rise in online casinos, so too, have we seen growth in the UK gaming sector. The payments model has also changed, from a one-off purchase of a physical cartridge or DVD, to a multi-buy online model where users can buy in-game items, or boxes with secret rewards. Do these types of activities simply allow them to be a non-Licensed casino?

In this article we’ll explore the similarities between video game rewards and casinos not on GamStop.

What are Loot Boxes? 

In-game purchases have become a new feature of video games and that has brought more opportunities for gamers to spend their money during the gaming experience. Players can purchase upgrades, such as costumes, vehicles, and bigger weapons. These items can be purchased outright, but users are also able to buy crates, which hold unknown rewards. The crates are usually cheaper than buying some of the more in-demand items but there is an element of chance involved. 

Video games such as Fortnite have exploded in popularity with younger gamers and Fortnite “skins” are an example of these in-game upgrades. The problem with this payment model is that players are usually teenagers, and there is an element of social pressure in having the latest upgrades when playing online with friends. 

Buying multiple crates can be costly, but they also have the same psychological issues as casinos, where those who are on a losing run might try to purchase more crates. The pricing of these items is also not in dollars or pounds, but in virtual currencies like V Bucks, so there is no “anchoring” of money to the real world. 

How Are Loot Boxes Like Playing at Casinos not on GamStop? 

The purchase of loot boxes operates with a similar reward mechanism as those used in non-GamStop casinos and the same psychological tools are applied by programmers and companies to entice buyers. Buying loot boxes with secret rewards is very similar to a spin on a casino reel as users are hoping to get lucky with a big item. The loot boxes can even have value in third-party marketplaces, such as the Steam community, where gamers trade their loot.  

The GamStop scheme was brough into the UK to control problem gambling, with punters able to apply an exclusion from sports betting and casino sites. Gaming upgrades and loot boxes are just as addictive and there has been evidence of children spending large sums of money on in-game purchases. These kids are often too young to understand the implications and the monetary value. There is no exclusion scheme available for video games, unlike in the casinos.  

E-Sports Gambling and In-Game Items Currencies 

E-sports has been another booming element of the gaming scene, which has become common at online sportsbooks. Some sites, such as CSGO BetsYOLO have allowed UK gamblers to exploit a loophole in the GamStop rules by betting on events using tradeable items, rather than a real currency. 

Punters are still making bets on the outcome of a match and it is another means of gambling without having to stick to the GamStop self-exclusion rules. Cryptocurrencies are another payment option for in-game purchases and the decentralised blockchain is setting up an online casino within their virtual role player world. There is no gaming authority in the virtual world and also no third-party resolution or self-exclusion, so it is asking for trouble. 

Gambling in the UK vs Non-GamStop Casinos 

Online casinos not on GamStop are really offering the same service as the gaming sites with their in-game purchases. Players are attracted to the graphics and playability, and the purchasing of loot box rewards is very similar to using cash using cash for gambling. 

British gamblers have become more drawn to Non-UK casinos because they offer a lighter regulatory environment than the UK industry, which is becoming more heavily regulated. Alongside the GamStop rules, UK punters have seen new restrictions on bet sizing and in-play rules, such as spin timers. These new rules can help to reduce the psychological effects for problem gamblers, but those who are more comfortable with their gambling habits are also being punished with the one-size fits all approach.

Non-GamStop sites offered on are simply casinos and sports betting sites which are not required to follow the UKGC regulations. Some may see them as a loophole to avoid GamStop rules, but the video gaming industry is an environment which is light on regulations and the use of loot boxes is really just exploiting the same psychologies in players. This was not the intended consequence when creating these in-game rewards, but players have to know the risks and avoid these games if they are using GamStop. 


Video games are seen as a harmless hobby compared to casinos, but they are seeing growing similarities in their environments. Loot box reward systems with in-game currencies have the potential to cause problems for those with gambling issues. The UKGC brought in the new rules for a reason and many players are suffering the consequences of the tighter regulations. It’s possible that the gaming industry will see a similar clamp down in the future, but regulators are always late to the party. It could be said that the video gaming industry is now acting like an unregulated casino and users should be careful about their usage. Gamblers who have signed up for the GamStop service should be aware of the similarities that these games can bring and not see it as a loophole to get around the exclusion rules.