Is online gaming becoming more like gambling?

The difference between video games and gambling is blurring more and more today. Betting on esports, video game-themed slot machines, gacha games, and loot boxes – all of these in some way connect gambling and video games.

Whether or not you consider online gambling to be a part of video games in general and esports, in particular, depends on your perspective and definition. Despite what many would say, there are some crossovers between FIFA Ultimate Team’s microtransactions and digital packs containing random items, for example.

The distinction of Skill Games

There are some clear parallels between esports and online poker tournaments, for example, in which personal skill, determination and logic all play a role in determining who wins. Because chess and other board games are not considered physical sports, they are excluded from competitions such as the Olympics. Neither are the majority of esports.

Online gambling and esports become even more intertwined when considering sports betting. In addition to wagers on football games or horse races, numerous betting websites now offer wagers on esports events.

Simultaneously, online casino games are becoming increasingly similar to video games. Technology is constantly evolving, whether it’s quick little apps on your phone alongside regular mobile games or themes and actual stories added to slot machines. Slot machines are especially becoming more advanced, with stories to explore while spinning the reels. To attract gamers, an online casino offers Monopoly and games from other popular franchises.

Is Gaming Gambling?

This question has kept a number of studios on their toes. Primarily because, from a legal standpoint, gambling and video games are difficult to combine.

Most nations have gambling laws that are extremely stringent regarding the protection of minors and the prevention of gambling addiction in general. For example, in Sweden, players can only claim one bonus in a casino as gambling prevention. This rule does not apply in UK casinos, for example, so an international online casino available in several markets need to stay up to date on the regulations in all the markets they are available. Visit this page to read more about the gambling differences around the world.

Because gambling is so regulated, games with gacha or loot box functionality are highly controversial. Players at any age can technically gamble that the loot box will give them what they want. Chances are they would spend less money if they could buy exactly what they would look for.

Beginning with Gacha Games

The entire gacha trend began in Japan and is based on small vending machines with collectable capsule toys. A collector would have to pay a great deal of money and hope for good luck to obtain the entire set. In Japan, these “gashapon” machines are so popular that entire stores with multiple floors are filled to the ceiling with them.

Konami is the originator of this concept for mobile games. In 2010, it was added to the card-based dungeon-crawler game Dragon Collection. They implemented a lottery in which powerful cards could be won for real money.

It was even worse than that, as it was often necessary to collect a complete set of the exact right cards in order to construct a stronger deck. In 2022, this form of gacha was banned from mobile games in many countries due to the potentially exorbitant prices required to obtain the desired cards.

Today, Gacha & Loot Boxes

Thus, the “box gacha” loophole was born. Items are now packaged in boxes, and the probabilities of each possible item are clearly indicated. This strategy is still prevalent in video games. Outside of mobile games, skins and other cosmetics are typically used to prevent pay-to-win mechanics, especially in PVP-multiplayer games.

Nonetheless, games such as Fire Emblem Heroes and Genshin Impact use this — let’s be honest — gambling mechanic to acquire more powerful characters. Although real money is not required to play the game or win loot boxes, there are various ways to make it tempting.

The more you “spin,” the better chances you get of obtaining the desired item. It is not surprising that some gamers spend their or their parent’s money on loot boxes and gacha games.


The profit model of gaming companies increasingly combines video game and gambling mechanics. There is a distinction, however, between marketing these games to adults and children.

This should be evaluated critically. Long-form games with a narrative and anime-inspired characters can entice children to play gacha games. Even if it’s optional, the loot box mechanic is a quick way to get them to spend money on the game. In addition, these companies add mechanisms that reward players for spending a large amount of money in a single session.

Particularly in easily accessible games, such as mobile games, these strategies should be severely restricted. Online casinos are the proper location for video game-based online gambling. These websites have a professional framework based on gambling laws, child protection, and addiction prevention because they were designed specifically to provide these services.

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