eSports gambling sites could attract children

eSports

eSports gambling sites may be alluring to children, UKGC says.

The UKGC has alerted british parents over unregulated eSports betting websites in which players gamble with in-game items.

UK.- The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has alerted parents the need to be vigilant over the dangers of gambling linked to video games as there’s been an increase in popularity of unregulated websites. Said pages offer gamers the chance to gamble on the results of video game competitions with in-game items.

Global skins gambling market was worth between US$3.9 billion and US$5.1 billion in 2016, according to a US report. Last month, UKGC executed a first-of-its-kind prosecution of two men running a website parasitic upon popular FIFA video games as many of these gambling web pages are actually illegal.

CEO Sarah Harrison warned: “Mums and dads could be giving money to a child thinking that they are playing a computer game when in fact they are gambling and this is real worry. Gambling on eSports with in-game-items is growing and we need to make sure all gambling is fair, safe, crime-free and protects the young and vulnerable”.

UKGC warning acts in accordance with the release of a Commission paper on virtual currencies, eSports and social gaming that features a survey which indicates 8.5 percent of people have gambled on eSports and 90 percent of those that gambled had done so with in-game items.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Tracey Crouch, has endorsed the Commission’s warning: “It is vital that any form of gambling online is properly regulated and paramount that we protect children and vulnerable people (…) it is a concern that there are unlicensed websites jumping on the back of popular video games and encouraging children to gamble,” Crouch said. “The Gambling Commission has shown that it will take action and prosecute”, she added before advicing: “It is important that parents are vigilant too and know about this risk to their children.”

The UKGC aims to act against unlicensed websites as evidenced by Ms Harrison’s statement: “They’re parasites feeding off popular video games, presenting a clear and present danger to players including kids. Our prosecution last month demonstrates that we won’t hesitate to take action.”

 

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