Parents need to be made aware of the potential risk posed to their kids by the gambling scene that has become associated with some video games.
That's according to the Gambling Commission, which has outlined some of its concerns in a new position paper on virtual currencies, eSports and video games.
The Commission concludes that these associated gambling sites are unregulated, and that many of them are illegal.
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 a real worry,” Gambling Commission CEO 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. 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. The Gambling Commission has shown that it will take action and prosecute but it is important that parents are vigilant too and know about this risk to their children.”
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. Our prosecution last month demonstrates that we won't hesitate to take action.”
The full position paper can be seen here. It says that the Gambling Commission will work to increase awareness of the problem and take action against problematic sites, seeking cooperation from international authorities when pursuing sites not based in the UK. It also calls for greater action from the games industry itself to promote good practise.
The news follows the successful prosecution of YouTuber Craig ‘NepentheZ' Douglas for his promotion of a FIFA Ultimate Team gambling site. The issue was propelled into the spotlight last year following an investigation that outed TmarTn and ProSyndicate's secretive ties to a gambling site they had been promoting.