UKGC issues warning over video game gambling

15 March 2017

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has called for parents to be vigilant to the dangers of children gambling on video games.

The national regulatory body recently published a paper on virtual currencies, esports and social gaming, highlighting that many websites associated with video game gambling are illegal.

Last month, the Commission carried out a first-of-its-kind prosecution of two men that had been running a website allowing people to bet on popular football video game ‘Fifa’.

“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,” UKGC chief executive Sarah Harrison said.

“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.

“These unlicensed websites are a hidden form of gambling – they’re parasites feeding off popular video games, presenting a clear and present danger to players including kids.”

Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has spoke positively about the paper and has given her backing to the Commission’s warning.

Crouch said: “It is vital that any form of gambling online is properly regulated and paramount that we protect children and vulnerable people.

“esports is a phenomenon that gets bigger every day and is enjoyed by millions, but it is a concern that there are unlicensed websites jumping on the back of popular video games and encouraging children to gamble.”

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