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Video Game Loot Boxes: Are They Like Non-GamStop Casinos?

Rate this Article Loot boxes have taken the video game world by storm. However, they have had their fair share of controversies which lead us to ask: are they like non-GamStop casinos? Virtual Worlds Land! - Video Game Loot Boxes: Are They Like Non-GamStop Casinos?

Non-GamStop casinos have been increasingly popular for British gamblers seeking an escape from the heightened regulations in the UK gaming sector. The UK Gambling Commission have taken an active role in trying to stamp out problem gambling, but these sites provide a loophole.

Alongside the rise in online gaming, we have also seen strong growth in the UK video game sector. The payments model has also changed from one-off purchases of a physical cartridge or DVD to a multi-buy online payments model. In-game upgrades such as ‘skins’, or boxes with secret rewards are common purchases for gamers, however some are arguing that these sites are operating like non-UK casino sites.

In this article we’ll explore the similarities and dangers associated with video game rewards and casinos not on GamStop.

What are Loot Boxes?

Loot boxes

In-game purchases are now the popular payment system used in modern video gaming and that has brought more opportunities for gamers to spend their money whilst playing their favourite games. Players can purchase upgrades, such as outfits, faster cars, and larger weapons. These items can be purchased outright, but users are also able to find them in reward crates, which hold unknown contents. The crates are usually cheaper than the more in-demand items, but they can hold valuable items.

Video game titles such as the Fortnite franchise have grown in popularity with younger gamers and Fortnite ‘skins’ are an example of these game-play upgrades. Skins such as the Spiderman skin have specialist weapons and gameplay features, which as you can imagine with Spiderman is heavily influenced by spider webs. The problem with this payment model is that players are young, and there is an element of social pressure in having the latest upgrades when playing online with friends.

Purchasing multiple crates can be costly, whilst they also have the same psychological elements as casinos, where people will buy more crates to make up for a losing run. The items are also priced in a virtual currency in some cases, such as Fortnite’s V-Bucks. These do not have the same ‘anchoring’ involved with real money.

How Loot Boxes are Similar to Casinos not on GamStop?

Epic Games' Fortnite makes a huge amount of money with March 2018 seeing more than $200 million in revenue.

LendEDU, a student loan platform, did a study on users’ spending habits by surveying 1,000 Fortnite players and found that 68.8% had spent money on the game, with an average spend of $84.67 each. And over 58% said they did so to access cosmetics- a character’s look or attributes.

Loot boxes and really games of chance and have the same reward mechanisms as non-GamStop casinos. Similar psychological tools are also applied by programmers with Epic Games constantly updating the franchise to attract new buyers. Buying loot boxes with unknown rewards is not very different from spinning casino reels in the hope of landing a large prize. Another feature of loot boxes is that they hold value on third-party marketplaces, such as the Steam community. Rare skins can be sold for higher V-Bucks values.

The GamStop scheme was introduced by the UKGC to control problem gambling, where punters can apply a self-exclusion from sportsbooks, bingo, and casino sites. Gaming upgrades and loot boxes can be just as addictive, with the evidence that children are spending large sums of money on in-game upgrades. The video games also operated away from the glare of gaming regulators with the UKGC saying previously that they do not fall within the meaning of gambling.

E-Sports Gambling and In-Game Items Currencies

E-sports has been another high-growth area of the gaming scene, and these are common at online sportsbooks. Sites such as CSGO BetsYOLO are another opportunity for UK gamblers to find a way around the GamStop rules by betting on events using items, rather than real money.

Punters are still betting on the outcome of an event, but they are not subject to the GamStop rules. Cryptocurrencies are another popular payment option in the digital world. The Decentraland project has land available for purchase on the blockchain. The video games company Atari had purchased some land to set up an online casino in the virtual world. There is no Decentraland gaming authority and that is a danger for problem gamblers.

Gambling in the UK and Non-GamStop Casinos

Casinos not on GamStop are providing a similar service to these video gaming sites with the ability to fund bets with cryptocurrency.

UK punters have been signing up to the non-UK casinos because they have a lighter-touch regulatory system. Alongside GamStop, UK punters have also seen restrictions added to areas such as bet sizing or spin timers. These new rules can assist with lowering the psychological effects for problem gamblers, but it also punishes those who do not have the same urges.

Non-GamStop sites are those casinos and sports betting sites that are not obliged to follow the UKGC regulations. These are usually located in Europe, such as Gibraltar or Cyprus, but also now in South America. The video gaming industry is an unregulated scene like the early online casino boom. Loot box rewards are simply exploiting the same urges in players and games developers know what they are doing. This was not the initial goal of creating in-game rewards, but they became wildly popular, and players should avoid these video games if they are on the GamStop scheme or have experience with problem gambling.


Video games are seen as a harmless hobby compared to casinos, but they are starting to show similarities in their environments. Loot boxes in-game virtual currencies have the potential to aggravate gambling issues. Many players are young, and parents are providing their children with tokens to buy in-game purchases without realizing that they may be fuelling a future problem with gambling. The UKGC has added new rules to the industry for a reason and these video games are outside their glare. Regulators can be late to act but they do not see them as gambling. The video gaming industry is acting as an unregulated casino and gamers should take care. Gamblers who are part of GamStop should also be aware of the similarities and not use them as a loophole for self-exclusion.

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