The iGaming industry and video gaming industry survive in a deeply symbiotic relationship. Often, the terms “gambling” and “gaming” are used interchangeably. They depend on each other more than they would like to admit.

For instance, they use similar marketing techniques such as offering players FTP (Free-To-Play) games, loot boxes, etc. The main motive of game developers behind borrowing the casino strategies is to get players addicted to the games.

The more players you hook, the more is your revenue. For instance, the idea of Free-To-Play (FTP) games is to urge the players to return to the game again and again. The majority of the players catch the addiction. First, they get a taste of the incredible in-game features.

Then, they are pursued to access the in-game contents by paying extra bucks from their pocket. Many gaming companies such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and others have already incorporated in-game purchases in small amounts into games such as Assassin’s Creed, FIFA, Madden, etc.

There are a variety of practices identical to those of the gambling world that have made their way into the domain of video games. Some are obvious such as esports betting and spending real money in social casinos. Other practices such as wagering tokens and playing real-money video games are embedded more covertly.

Thus, the video gaming industry is heavily influenced by the iGaming industry. Take a look below to know how!

Loot Boxes

Loot boxes, which usually contain random virtual gaming items, have been heavily criticized and seen through a sceptic’s eye because of their inclination to promote gambling culture right in your own living room.

Expect a flash deal to pop up on your screen saying, “Grab a rare chest filled with 300 games! Hurry or they are gone.” This deal will necessarily ask you to contribute just a few bucks, which seems like a really good deal to you and you go for it.

The payments are often processed as “microtransactions” which make it easier for a child or an underage player to get through them. Repeated payments cross hundreds of dollars. Now, those items may or may not be the items you want or those which will help you get to the next tier. But, it’s all a matter of chance – a gamble! 

They can contain an avatar or a character or weapons or armour or anything that would get you to the next level. These virtual weapons can even improve your chances of winning the game. Video games monetize their platforms through these tactics.

You can either buy the materials with your own money or you are told to randomly buy a loot box that has some options. Loot boxes in video games are one of the most primary concerns. So, you are basically gambling. Therefore, loot boxes are sure to lure innocent players into problem gambling.

One of the most advanced games which incorporate loot boxes is Star Wars Battlefront II. This game included a loot box tactic called “Star Cards”. You are given the opportunity to buy these items which will make you stronger than your competitors in the video game.

Gambling Activities Found Inside The Games

Having gambling as a part of video games is not an uncommon occurrence. You would often come across such instances where you will have to gamble in order to reach the next level.

Thus, normal video game players can give easy access to casino games available at NonAAMS.com or any other gambling portals. Thus, it is very important to censure games as per age group.

Underage people and children can get exposed to gambling-related risks. FTP games such as Clash of Clans and others keep the rewarding system very consistent at first and hook as many players as possible. This is extremely profitable for the game operators. They also ensure digital trophies, prizes, and virtual freebies.

Usage Of Fake Currencies

Video games use fake currencies such as “gems” or “chips” which can produce in real-money players, a dissociation effect.

This effect necessarily points to the illusions that real money players are kept in – a reality check of how much money they are really spending there. This effect also works when people use their debit cards for transactions rather than cash.

Advertising

FTP games need to monetize their platform through making advertisements. This is a very good source of revenue. Gambling operators are aware that video game domains are largely unsupervised.

They cash in on this opportunity so that they can advertise themselves on this platform. This is a dangerous element for a child’s curiosity. You would often encounter these ads on FTP mobile games.

Purchases Done In-app

While playing a mobile-optimized video game, you must have noticed that the game sometimes requires you to pay for extra lives or weapons when you run out of free chances.

Or maybe they ask you to unlock various levels using these items. This is a very common occurrence and is strategically employed. If you buy your way up a level, then you are making an in-app purchase.

Most video games will very strategically trick you into buying those in-app items or features. Some techniques used by game developers are:

  • An illusion of skills

  • Reward schedules set randomly

  • Tricks through an audio-visual medium

  • Creating a competitive nature amongst players.

These strategies make it difficult for the players to pull themselves away from the video game. Also, the game makes it impossible for you to reach other levels and beat other players without you making some in-app purchases. Game developer companies make revenue in millions a day through these methods.

Esports Betting

The esports industry experience was once contained to LAN parties amongst friends. But, now it has become an official connection of various gaming competitions and tournaments. Tournaments make lots of money as viewers start pouring in. Over the past years, they have become a hotspot of betting and gambling enthusiasts.

The iGaming industry’s influence is so crystal clear and dominating that esports gambling is a separate niche market viable to bettors and punters online. One of the most popular esports betting was seen in the League of Legends World Championships held in 2018.

The match attracted 44 million spectators. This contributed a lot to the gambling culture that is rapidly growing in various online and offline sports and video games. Another game called Counter-Strike Global Offensive is a very popular game where bettors like to place their bets on “skin gambling”.

“Skins” are cosmetic gaming items that upgrade the appearance of your weapons. All of these constructed an underground economy. Players trade or sell these cosmetic items. Rare skins are sold at higher prices. This creates a market of its own right.

Following this tradition, many betting sites have now started featuring sportsbooks in their lobby along with live multiplayer video game tournaments. They also allow punters to bet on esports tournaments just like they would bet on sports championships of Football, Basketball, or Hockey. 

You can practice esports betting by placing bets on the results of popular multiplayer video game tournaments. Some research shows that esports betting contributes to the gambling culture in far more intensity than traditional sports betting.

Easily Accessible Free Casino Games To Young Adults

All over the internet, you would find an ample number of simulated games which are supposed to give you an opportunity to practice your gambling skills. Here, you would not be asked to wager any real money and nor would be able to withdraw any.

You play with free credits or virtual points. These type of simulated games such as free Slotmania, free Zynga Poker – they are not considered real gambling but they promote and perpetuate gambling culture amongst the young and vulnerable. These apps are easily accessible through Facebook and Google play store. 

Practising your hand at these might look fun, cool, and harmless. But, you are yet completely unaware of their side effects. Being exposed to this culture from such a young age, the sheer concept of gambling being “fun” is embedded in their heads.

Conclusion

In recent years, the status of video games has changed a lot after the introduction of in-app purchasing mechanisms such as loot boxes and microtransactions. This strategy, essentially adopted by the gaming industry for monetizing their platforms, proves to be a harmful instigator of gambling.

The in-game contents continue to contribute to the revenue model. Through these small transactions, you process your payments in small amounts which don’t make these purchases appear as something unaffordable.  

Gambling generally comprises three elements: consideration; taking risks; and getting rewarded. But, gaming is considered as a formal expression for “play”. In most cases, you would see the two converging in order to support each other’s growth.

They would share similar features in terms of both aesthetic and structural value. This leads to gaming giving shelter to hybrid gambling activities. Video games often incorporate sales techniques in their gameplay to manipulate the players into paying some bucks.

These strategies can result in triggering problem gambling. The most vulnerable are the young adults whose access to in-game loot boxes is not monitored. There are a million other selling tactics that essentially are employed to elicit repeated in-game purchases from players.



* Article written in collaboration with our partner, IBG Media.