The law separates gambling and games. Gambling focuses on the element of chance (the outcome of the game is determined by chance) while skill plays the greatest role in gaming (the outcome of the game is determined by the player’s skill). Read more about this difference at ‘What is gambling? ‘. This separation is less present on the internet. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between gaming and gambling. Some games are very similar to slot games such as online slots Malaysia. For example, some free games contain gambling elements that allow you to win extra items for your game. Or games are developed in such a way that you have to pay before you can play the full game. Paying small amounts to progress in the game is also becoming more common.
Games with gambling elements
- Collectible card games
These are (online) card games where you buy or win cards. You then play against other players with those cards. Like Magic the Gathering (physical cards) or Hearthstone (digital cards). There is an element of skill in these games, which is the strategy you choose. But they also have a gambling element, because when you buy a set of cards, you do not know in advance what is in your set. A set can have a small or a large value. The chance is very small, but who knows, there may be one very valuable card among them. That’s a ‘guess’.
- Social casino games
Social casino games are casino-like games where it is not about money, but about virtual points. It concerns games such as roulette, poker, and the slot machine. Playing is free and you cannot win money. As a result, you can also play these games if you are under 18. For example, 12-year-olds can play on a simulated slot machine via their smartphone. There are several apps to play these games. You can also play these kinds of games via Facebook. For example, the use of social media can bring you into contact with simulated gambling. But beware, there are sometimes advertisements for real online casinos. This can tempt you to switch to gambling with money.
- Virtual Items of Value
There are online casinos where you don’t have to wager real money, but items that you have earned or purchased in games. These can be skins or weapons that look nicer than the standard models. Some items are very rare and therefore sought after. They are therefore worth money when you trade them. Rare weapons in the game Counterstrike: Global Offensive, are sometimes worth thousands of euros! You can also use items that are worthless to gamble on something. For example on eSports competitions, Blackjack and Roulette.
- Fantasy Sports
This is a form of the game that has come over from America. It is becoming more and more popular due to the internet. As a player, you participate in a made-up competition. The results are based on the real results of the players and teams. For example from the football league. With a number of other players, you each choose your own team with what you think can yield the best scores. A football player or team can only be chosen by one person. That’s why you choose a team per turn and then your players. Fantasy Sports are free to play and cannot win prizes (in Europe). But here too you see advertisements on the websites to bet real money.
Games of chance do not fall under the law. However, there are many online social games that use certain gambling elements: the so-called loot boxes. A small amount of money gives you a treasure chest as a player. This contains a virtual item to make the game more fun or easier. In many cases, you as a player have no influence on what is in the box. It can be an item of small value, or of great value because it is rare. Opening a loot box often resembles a slot machine. Think of the visual effects that make it extra exciting and rewarding. Sometimes it almost seems like you’re winning something. Or you can open multiple loot boxes in quick succession. For example, there is a gambling element in a game that can be played by young and old.
Checking loot boxes: sometimes it is gambling
The Gaming Authority has investigated that 4 out of 10 loot boxes in popular games from 2018 are in conflict with the Games of Chance Act (Wok). The loot boxes are against this law because the contents of the box are determined by chance. But also because the prizes to be won in the loot box have an economic value, just like real money. They can also be traded outside the game. As of June 2018, the Gaming Authority has obliged game developers to take measures. They have to replace mechanisms in the loot boxes so that they no longer resemble a game of chance. If the developers do not do this, they can be fined.
Know the difference between gaming and gambling
Most young people know that in gambling games money is earned by the provider. A casino makes money on you as a player. People know this less well about games. For example, playing social casino games and Fantasy Sports can entice players to gamble for real. You just need to click on the ad on the website. Gambling elements, such as loot boxes, also appear in many games. Because these boxes are common, it seems quite normal. So young people can get used to gambling in all sorts of ways without being aware of it. It is important that players are aware of the gambling elements in games.