Gambling Commission: “Children As Young As 11 Introduced to Gambling” Via Loot Boxes

They're calling these microtransactions "Skin betting"

The Gambling Commission in the UK released an annual report where they have reportedly, for the first time, looked into a problem known as "skin betting". They've revealed an alarming number of children from ages 11-16 partaking in this form of gambling.

"Skin betting" is typically in a video game where players have a chance to win what is called a "skin" for their weapon or character, which can be turned around and sold to others for real-life money.

According to the BBC, the commission is cracking down on this practice, calling it what they classify as gambling. Additional findings in the report include:

  • 45% of 11-16 year-olds were aware of "skin betting"
  • 11% of 11-16 year-olds had placed bets using in-game items
  • 59% of boys knew about the activity compared with 31% of girls

In response to this, third-party marketplaces like Steam were ordered to assist in fixing the problem.

Overall, the estimated total of children 11-16 spending money on gambling in the past week reaches 370,000 in England, Scotland and Wales. Meanwhile, in Belgium, they've recently defined the loot boxes in Star Wars Battlefield 2 to be gambling as well. Although New Zealand recently decided otherwise.