Young People and Gambling 2023
- Executive summary
- Young people’s active involvement in gambling
- Experience of gambling
- The Impact of gambling on young people
- Online gambling
- National Lottery play
- Games and gaming machines
- The Context for gambling participation
- Attitudes towards and exposure to gambling
- List of gambling activities and definitions
Awareness and use of in-game items in video games
Skins are one example of in-game items which can be won or bought within a video game to change the appearance of a character, avatar or weapon. On some websites (separate to the game itself), players can trade, bet on and sell their skins in exchange for cash. This is called skins gambling.
One commonly used method for players to acquire in-game items is through in-game payments to open loot boxes which contain an unknown quantity and value of in-game items. The use of features which include expenditure and chance has led to concern that loot boxes are akin to gambling. The Gambling Commission’s view on skins gambling, loot boxes and related issues is as set out in the position paper entitled 'Virtual currencies, eSports and social casino gaming – position paper' published in March 2017 (opens in new tab) (PDF).
Just over one third (34 percent) had paid for in-game items or ‘mods’ (for example, skins, clothes, weapons, players) either with their own money or virtual currency, and 21 percent had spent money or virtual currency to unlock loot boxes, packs or chests to acquire in-game items (for example, skins, clothes, weapons, players).
As shown in Figure 14, the closer that the use of in-game items gets to gambling (for example betting with in-game items, money or virtual currency in hopes of winning a prize) the lower the levels of awareness and usage are, with only 2 percent of young people having personally bet with in-game items.
The amount of young people who are aware of and have used in-game items has decreased by 5 percentage points in comparison to 2022 (43 percent). Similarly, those who paid for in-game items or mods with either money or virtual currency, and those who paid to open loot boxes, packs or chests to get in-game items has seen a decrease of 5 percentage points and 3 percentage points respectively (39 percent and 24 percent in 2022).
Figure 14: Awareness and use of in-game items
Figure 14 information
INGAMEAWARE. The following list shows some different things that it is possible to do with in-game items. Which, if any, of these have you heard about before today?
Base: All 11 to 17 year olds answering (2,749).
INGAMEUSED. Which, if any, of the following have you personally done?
Base: All 11 to 17 year olds answering who were aware of in-game items (1,649).
Note: This shows responses to two separate questions, with exclusions of Don’t know and Not stated response, so the total will not add up to 100 percent.
Note: The data included in the third column ('Not aware of in-game items') was calculated based on the percentages of other answer choices.
|Awareness and use of in-game items||Percentage who are aware of in-game items, but never done them (answers do not sum to 100 percent)||Percentage who are not aware of in-game items, but never done them (answers do not sum to 100 percent)||Percentage who are aware of and used in-game items (answers do not sum to 100 percent)|
|Paying for in-game items or mods (for example skins, clothes, weapons, players) either with money or virtual currency||45%||12%||34%|
|Paying to open loot boxes and/or packs and/or chests to get in-game items (for example skins, clothes, weapons, players) either with money or virtual currency||38%||18%||21%|
|Betting with in-game items on websites outside of the game you are playing||13%||10%||2%|
Boys were more likely to be aware of and have used in-game items than girls (50 percent compared to 25 percent), reflecting the fact that they are more likely to play video games and gamble online:
- boys were more likely to purchase in-game items with real money or virtual currency than girls, (45 percent, compared with 22 percent)
- boys were also more likely to pay for opening loot boxes, packs or chests to get in-game items than girls, (31 percent, compared with 10 percent)
- boys were also more likely to bet with in-game items on websites outside of the game they were playing than girls, (4 percent, compared with 1 percent).
Online gambling using parent's or guardian's accounts Next section
Awareness and use of virtual money or tokens to bet on sports matches
Last updated: 16 November 2023
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