Online gaming and online gambling can be considered to be similar activities. When it comes to online gambling, the outcome is achieved by chance, not skill. However, in the case of online gaming, precisely the opposite happens. Some gambling activities include gaming features and vice versa.
Going into more detail, gaming typically means being able to play video games or interactive computer games. Such games can be a form of entertainment or may be based on strategies and skills. On the other hand, gambling refers to the wagering of actual money on events that do not have a particular outcome. It typically involves an element of risk or chance, wagered money, and the possibility of winning a prize. As a result, sometimes perceived boundaries get blurred from a consumer perspective. Let’s look at four points of convergence between online gaming and online gambling.
1) Lottery products
Lottery corporations on a global scale have incorporated both adult and childhood games into scratchcards. Game themes like Battleship, Monopoly, Twister, Bingo, Pictionary, and Scrabble Sudoku are a few examples. With the growth of the internet in the last couple of decades, all these games are available online from various gambling providers. They can be considered primarily to be examples of online gambling since the player is wagering actual money.
2) Loot boxes
Another example that shows the convergence between gaming and gambling is video games that allow the purchase of “loot boxes.” You can get more details here if you want to find out what are loot boxes in gaming. Online gamers use actual money to purchase keys to open the loot boxes, chests, cases, crates, or bundles, where they receive a selection of virtual items entirely by chance. Examples are basic customization options to customize a gamer’s online avatar or gameplay assets to help gamers progress effectively while gaming.
Loot boxes were first introduced in June 2004 in the Japanese version of MapleStory, a side-scrolling MMORPG. The western world saw the first loot boxes in Team Fortress 2 in September 2010. Since then, the concept of loot boxes has caught on like wildfire in online games. However, whether loot boxes fall under the category of gambling varies depending on the legislation and gambling regulation in different countries around the world.
3) Electronic sports (esports)
Another area of convergence when it comes to online gaming and online gambling is esports. The esports category is a comparatively new and rapidly growing phenomenon in the online entertainment space. Today, playing video games is one of the most popular recreational activities enjoyed by adults, adolescents, and children alike. Online communities for competitive video games are highly popular, and wagering on the outcome of tournaments and competitions is also growing. Furthermore, esports has garnered a massive following due to the rise of online streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
Esports is competitive video game playing, where players take part in group gaming competitions. The most common genres in video games are first-person shooter (FPS) games, multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, real-time strategy (RTS) games, and fighting games. When it comes to popular esports games, Dota 2, StarCraft, LoL, and CS are popular examples. While esports can be considered to be a kind of gaming activity, betting using money on esports makes it fall in the gambling category. In 2021, the global eSports market has been valued at a bit more than US$ 1.08 billion.
4) Social casino gaming
With online gaming traffic in the US jumping by 75% amid the Coronavirus outbreak, there has been a rise in the popularity of social casino-type games (like DoubleDown Casino, demo games meant to let individuals gamble using virtual currency). Such games simulate features of actual gambling games without involving actual money transactions. Social casino games are typically accessed through social networking sites but may also be found on video game platforms. Versions of such games are also available on handheld devices and personal computers.
Many times, actual gambling companies launch social casino games in an attempt to attract future customers to their actual gambling sites. Some social casino games are offered by regular casinos that want to keep their regular customers thinking about their games that provide gambling opportunities. However, these are a kind of advertisement for the regular casinos and can attract adolescents or children who do not have access to money to play at regular online casinos. By the time they reach legal age or get access to real money, they may be only too keen to partake in actual online gambling activities.