Earlier in the week, BLIGHTY announced that it has joined forces with 15 other nations for the purpose of tackling video game features that they perceive as gambling.
A cohort of EU gambling agencies and commissions assigned with the task of looking for suspicious practices joined forces with the Washington State Gambling Commission and yet-to-Brexit, Britain for “looking at the undeniable risks incurring due to the thin line between gambling and gaming.”
Several aspects like looking at things like loot boxes in immensely popular games like Overwatch and Fortnite, along with looking at more obvious gambling activity presented through third-party websites based around video games like FIFA Ultimate Team, and Counter-Strike; Global Offensive. Titles such as these come up with eSports competitions that can be viewed by individuals on YouTube and in turn these individuals can gamble upon the outcome through websites that have no direct relation with the game or competition. Gaming companies such as Ubisoft EPA:UBI have been in the regulatory spotlight as pressure to curb online gambling mounts
According to Neil McArthur, chief executive and signatory for the UK’s Gambling Commission, “By joining forces we aim to make all video games companies aware of the clear public concern surrounding the risks gambling and a few video games can pose to children.”
“All video game companies are henceforth encouraged by us to work with their respective gambling regulators and implement some actions to address those concerns and make sure that the final consumer, specifically children, are protected.”
When it comes to gambling in games, there seems to be a lot of grey areas that need to be addressed. Arguably, gambling through third-party websites is something that falls neatly under the purview of gambling commissions and agencies. However, products like loot boxes are a completely different case altogether, as in the UK they are considered fine if the character skins, items and other digital doo-dahs gained through them cannot be sold to anyone for money.
However, several third-party sites exist that permit the exchange of money for items, particularly as some multiplayer games allow in-game items to be freely exchanged between players; meaning an external site could be used to agree on such trades in exchange for real currency.