Video games (gaming) and gambling

Many people — especially young people — enjoy playing video games but they may not be aware of all the gambling elements creeping into them.

Many games have elements which look and feel like gambling — including video games that replicate casino games and games where players buy virtual items which may or not have value.

How are gambling concepts showing up in video games? Look out for these features:

Social casino games

These look and work like games in a casino but, instead of playing for money, you win points or in-game currency like coins or jewels. Sometimes players spend more to unlock special features or collect more points.

Virtual goods like weapons or character upgrades

You can buy or earn virtual goods or trade them in the game. They could even be traded online for real money.

Loot boxes

A reward you can win or buy using real money during a game. It often contains mystery items to use in the game which may include weapons or costumes. With no skill involved, it's a lot like gambling. The UK government is considering regulating loot boxes under gambling laws.


Skins change the look of an item in a video game. For example, skins can be new costumes for your character. You can either earn or buy skins with real money and some are considered rarer than others and cost more. Skins can be used as token for gambling.

Find out how to Talk to young people about gambling.