11% of children gambling bet with in-game items says the UK Gambling Commission

11% of children gambling bet with in-game items says the UK Gambling Commission

The UK Gambling Commission today released its findings on how gambling was affecting children and around 25,000 children between 11 and 16 are considered problem gamblers. The report covers everything from the lottery to gambling in video games.

New technology is the problem according to their report with free-to-play casino games, social media, or within some video games being the main problem areas. Tim Miller, Gambling Commission Executive Director said:

“It is clear that many children’s experiences of gambling-style activities are coming from the playground, the games console or social media rather than the bookmaker, the casino or the gambling website. That’s why it is essential that we work across industries and with parents so that together we can protect children and encourage those that choose to gamble in adulthood to do so safely.”

In the past week, 12% (370,000) children have taken part in some form of gambling activity. The video game sectors stats show that 11% have bet with in-game items and 45% are aware that it’s possible to bet with in-game items.

The infographic and stats below highlight the problem which the Commission says is being exacerbated by children do not understanding the consequences of gambling


Percentage of 11-16 year olds that have gambled in the last week (as at December 2017)


Percentage of 11-16 year olds that have seen gambling advertising on TV (as at December 2017)


Percentage of 11-16 year olds that are defined as problem gamblers (as at December 2017)


Percentage of boys that have gambled in the last week


Percentage of girls that have gambled in the last week


 Percentage of 11-16 year olds that have played gambling style games


Percentage of 11-16 year olds that follow gambling companies on social media
Gambling Commission
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  • Paul Younger

    Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

    • https://steamcommunity.com/id/colr/ Col

      tl;dr On p. 22 “Betting with in-game items on computer games/apps”, footnote 21 links to “Virtual currencies, eSports and social casino gaming – position paper” which posits in paras. 3.17 and 3.18 “Game mechanics”:

      “Away from the third party websites which are overtly gambling (offering betting, casino
      games and lottery products) the ability to exchange in-game items for cash or trade on
      secondary markets also risks drawing elements within games themselves into gambling
      definitions. By way of example, one commonly used method for players to acquire in-game
      items is through the purchase of keys from the games publisher to unlock ‘crates’, ‘cases’
      or ‘bundles’ which contain an unknown quantity and value of in-game items as a prize. The
      payment of a stake (key) for the opportunity to win a prize (in-game items) determined (or
      presented as determined) at random bears a close resemblance, for instance, to the
      playing of a gaming machine. Where there are readily accessible opportunities to cash in or
      exchange those awarded in-game items for money or money’s worth those elements of the
      game are likely to be considered licensable gambling activities.

      Additional consumer protection in the form of gambling regulation, is required in
      circumstances where players are being incentivised to participate in gambling style
      activities through the provision of prizes of money or money’s worth. Where prizes are
      successfully restricted for use solely within the game, such in-game features would not be
      licensable gambling, notwithstanding the elements of expenditure and chance. “