Legal Issue with Gambling in Video Games

In the past few years, there have been numerous debates on video gaming and gambling. The gambling laws change frequently due to the many legal issues that occur in the world of online video game gambling.

The Reason behind Online Gambling Legal Issues

Video games started off as a means of entertainment only. They took part of the gaming industry that was most popular with young players. However, once video gaming became available to gamblers, there have been many legal issues concerning the advertisement, promotion, methods of playing, etc. As a result, the gambling casino law changed many times in the past couple of years.

The evolution of casino video games, especially in terms of casino-style gaming, loot boxes, and chance-based virtual mechanics have exacerbated the legal issues. Consequently, most countries decided to take action and change their online casino laws to remove the issues and put a stronger barrier between traditional gaming and actual gambling.

Video Game and Gambling Legal Issues

Let’s see what the biggest issues with gambling are when it comes to gaming.

Social Gaming and Gambling

Ever since video games were introduced to the casino world, there have been numerous failures by gambling companies and operators when it comes to demarcating between gambling and social gaming.

Traditional video gaming used to be seen as a way to have some fun. There have been many educational benefits linked to video gaming, too. However, now that online casino games include video gaming, the industry has taken a huge and uncontrollable leap.

Some of the biggest casinos target children with the storybook and cartoon characters embedded in their online, real-money betting products. There’s a legal loophole that some casinos chose to exploit to promote games that will appeal to children. This doesn’t breach the Gambling Commission rules.

With such misleading offers and marketing strategies, people need to be very careful not to overstep the barrier between social playing and actual gambling.

Solution for Gamblers under GamStop

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a gambler. Video playing is an excellent solution for casino players who gamble under GamStop. If they choose to bet on UK gambling sites not on gamstop, they are risking spending a lot of money. However, since gambling in video games became an option, it has become hard to distinguish between the costly versions and the free, entertainment-only versions.


eSports is a fragmented piece of the industry of video gaming. There are various tournament tiers for different gaming choices. It has become really hard to distinguish between them and understand how things are being coordinated.

Since eSports are growing all the time, more and more businesses and regulators want to step in. As a result, this immense rise of eSports has brought on many legal issues.

Many regional and small tournaments have recently used licenses for tournaments without the developers’ and publishers’ approval. The question that arises here is – is this illegal or legal? The loopholes are numerous in this case, which brings on many questions. Who owns the eSports broadcasting rights? What rights does a developer or a publisher have in terms of controlling their product’s status as an eSport?

The reality is, not all parts of eSports are fully protected under the law, especially when it comes to copyright law. This requires many legal changes. The law has to determine who will protect the players, who will hold the IP rights to the broadcast, and whether or not a performance of a player will be independently protected.

Not to mention, there’s the big debate over franchising in the eSports world.

Loot Boxes

Just two years ago, loot boxes were the hot topic in terms of video gaming and in gambling. When the many changes in sports betting occurred around the world, loot boxes started leaving the regulatory conversation and turning in favour of eSports betting discussions. This is now even more of an issue after the Supreme Court overturned the ban on sports betting in 2018.

The legal battle that is happening at the moment is bound to change the industry forever, but how? The most accepted prediction is that loot boxes will remain a game mechanic, but they will be guided by regulators and lawmakers with the goal of overseeing betting and gambling within the industry.


With the option to play casino games with an added video feature come increased privacy issues. VR/ AR, and biometrics make the legal system highly concerned about the players’ privacy. As the trends rise, this will become an even greater issue.

Even now, the legal world finds it hard to keep up with the technology changes. This isn’t a new problem, but the infusion of video gaming in the gambling industry sure speed things up in terms of privacy concerns.


There has never been a time in the gaming industry where there was a developers’ union. However, in the Great Britain and some other countries, the Gamer Workers have united and became a brand. Other countries will probably follow suit. These workers will unite and organize and team up with more established unions with the goal to expedite their efforts. This is most likely to occur in more labour-friendly states.

Final Thoughts

Introducing gaming to the gambling world has been an amazing idea, one that all players around the globe truly enjoy. What was used as a pastime and means for some entertainment has turned into a way to bet for real money while immersed in an amazing, virtual-like experience. However, such a big change was bound to come with numerous legal issues. This is why we can expect many laws to be introduced in the following months with the same or an even faster pace than we’ve witnessed lately.

Main photo by kendall hoopes from Pexels

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About Simon Plumbe 1064 Articles
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I'm an animal lover and vegetarian. Enjoyed this and my other articles? Why not buy me a coffee: