The past two decades have experienced a technological boom that has effectively revolutionized the human lifestyle and behaviour. Life has undergone a permanent alteration owing to the availability of broadband internet services, mobile phones, and social media. With this, the gaming and gambling industry has grown and established itself in the online market. Today, the internet is a source of numerous video games and casino games, some for free and some for real money that excites customers enough to indulge in them.
As we know, gambling refers to the wagering of money or a valuable item on an event with a tentative outcome. It involves three components, namely, consideration, risk, and the prize. On the other hand, gaming simply refers to playing games, which could comprise board games, console games, computer games, etc. Lately, due to the advent of online gambling and gaming, the structural boundaries between the two have blurred. More often than not, there is no age restriction on video games which makes them accessible to children and teens. The convergence of gambling and gaming has exposed these children prematurely to the activity which can have disastrous consequences.
GamStop is a free self-exclusion service that inhabitants of the United Kingdom sign up for to control and regulate their gambling activities. Registered users will be prohibited from seeking any sort of gambling opportunities on the UK registered casinos and apps online for a period of 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years as per their pick. Having said that, punters who choose GamStop could still access casino games at several new online casinos that aren’t on GamStop operating under offshore licenses such as Malta Gaming Authority, Gambling Commission of Great Britain, Government of Gibraltar, etc.
These casinos offer a plethora of games and promotional offers that are considered very lucrative. While most of these casinos are very safe and credible, punters need to abide by the principles of Responsible Gambling to ensure that they avoid the pitfalls of addiction.
According to a study conducted by the University of York, players engage in simultaneous gaming and gambling activities by playing games offering token wagering and real money gaming. While the online betting industry has adopted terms and conditions for ethical practices and responsible gambling, the video gaming industry has not done so sufficiently. It is true that parents should monitor their children to play within a reasonable limit, video gaming industries should also take it upon themselves to minimize potential problems by imposing age restrictions, removing paid loot boxes, promoting responsible betting by exposing users to GamStop and the likes.
Remove Paid Loot Boxes
Loot boxes in video games concern virtual weapons, “skins”, unique digital outfits, and other such items that can be bought with real-time money. It is a controversial feature and a form of monetization. Loot boxes are an effective way to generate revenue without subscriptions and keep the players invested and interested due to sheer curiosity of what the boxes could possibly contain. The mid-2010s saw an upsurge in the inclusion of loot boxes into games but soon came to be heavily criticized since it heightened the risks of problem gambling.
Loot boxes started coming under the regulation of national gambling laws in many countries. Due to increased regulation and criticism, certain studios resorted to removing or replacing the loot boxes in their games. For instance, Phoenix Labs removed the loot boxes from Dauntless; Pysonix also did the same with Rocket League and replaced it with a direct item shop.
Promote Responsible Betting At eSports
Betting should be considered and treated as a fun pastime and not a means of generating income. Responsible gambling is a concept with a broad spectrum of policies and conditions applicable to gambling stakeholders with the hope that they would respect the standards of quality and offer a safe gambling space to the punters. The objective is to protect vulnerable gamblers and private information, forbid underage gambling, and protect online payment and transactions and safety against online criminal activities.
Most good and licensed eSports betting sites will have a section dedicated to responsible gambling that addresses the various issues, providing solutions for the same with recommendations and counsel.
A Concluding Thought
Both gaming and gambling contain high entertainment value and are an exceptional way to spend time, avoid stress and get an adrenaline rush. However, the risks of problem gambling and addiction run high with children and adolescents. Even if there are services like GamStop and Gamban, nothing will come to pass if the individual does not recognize his or her gambling activities and problems.
It is essential for video gaming sites to host discussions and indications about the risks associated with uncontrolled gaming in personal statements and not leave them out assuming that the customers will not read them. The gaming industry, much like the gambling forum, must give enough attention to its social and consumer protection responsibilities for healthy gaming.