Gambling in video games and vice versa

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The line between gambling and video games is blurring. Betting on esports, video game-themed slots, gacha games, and loot box mechanics – all of these tie gaming and video games together in one way or another.

Here is an overview of the law and status of gaming in video games and electronic sports and the role of video games in online gaming.

Is online gambling a game?

It’s a matter of perspective and definition if you consider online gaming to be part of video games in general and esports in particular. Many would argue that’s not the case, but there are crossovers with microtransactions and digital packs with random elements like FIFA Ultimate Team. Let’s look at poker.

  • Poker is a game of chance
  • There are online versions of this game. Software with animation and programming and NPC-VI… some would say virtual poker is some kind of video game – others would disagree
  • If you can go online, connect to a server, and play with other players over the internet, it becomes a type of multiplayer game, but it’s not a traditional video game.
  • If there is a provider of some sort offering cash prizes in a virtual online poker tournament, does poker become a competitive sport?
  • Is an online poker competition an esports event? (many would say no)

We have already made our point here. With personal skills, logic, and determination playing a role in whether or not you win, there are parallels between esports and online poker tournaments.

Chess and other board games are excluded from events such as the Olympics because they are not considered a physical sport. Most esports don’t either.

Online gambling and electronic sports are even more mixed up if you look at sports betting. Besides betting on football matches or horse races, many betting websites now include betting on esports events.

At the same time, more and more online casino games are compared to video games. Whether it’s quick little apps on your phone alongside classic mobile games, or real-life themes and scenarios added to slots. An online casino like Casino Euro even offers games like Monopoly and games from other famous franchises to attract players among them.

In this Casino Euro review (, you can see the list of different game studios and software providers and of course the mention of video game poker and tournaments. The flashy images and graphics will remind some of the video game or mobile gaming industry, especially when you consider tablet and smartphone gaming.

Is the game a game?

This is a question that has kept some studios in suspense. Mainly because gambling and video games are difficult to merge from a legal point of view.

Most countries have very strict gambling laws regarding the protection of minors and the prevention of general gambling addiction. This is what makes games with a gacha or loot box functionality such a topic. controversial.

It all started with Gacha Games

The whole gacha trend started in japan. It is based on small vending machines that include capsule toys. To get the set, a collector would have to pay a lot of coins and hope for good odds. These gashapon machines are very important abroad, there are whole stores with several floors filled from top to bottom with the machines.

It was in fact Konami who took up this concept for mobile games. In 2010, they added him to the game Dragon Collection, a dungeon robot with map elements. They have set up a lottery that will allow you to win powerful cards for real money.

It was worse than that, actually, because a lot of times you had to collect a whole set of exactly the right cards in order to be able to build a stronger one. The potentially insane amounts of money people had to pay for the cards of their choice caused this form of gacha to be banned from mobile games in 2002.

Gacha and loot boxes today

Thus, the “box gacha” flaw was born. Items are now delivered in boxes, and it is clearly stated how large the odds are on each possible item. We still see this loot box strategy in video games. Although outside of mobile games, they mostly contain skins and other cosmetics to prevent pay-to-win mechanics, especially in PVP multiplayer games.

Yet games like Fire Emblem Heroes or Genshin Impact use this gameplay mechanic – let’s face it – to gain more powerful characters. While you don’t have to spend real money to be able to play the game or even earn loot boxes, there are plenty of ways to make it tempting.

The more you spin, the more likely you are to get the item you want. No wonder some gamers end up spending their money or their parents’ money playing loot boxes and gacha games.


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

The latter must be critically examined. Long form games with story and anime characters can make kids play gacha games. The loot box mechanic, while optional, is a quick way to get them to spend money on the game. On top of that, these companies are adding mechanics to reward players who spend a lot of money on the game. only one session.

Especially in easily accessible games like mobile games, these strategies should be severely limited. Online gambling, also in the form of video games, belongs to online casinos. These websites are specifically designed to provide these services and therefore have a professional framework based on gambling laws, child protection and addiction prevention.

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