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Are loot boxes just gaming or gambling?

What do you think; do modern video games have gambling elements in them? You would think no as you probably believe that this should be forbidden because these games aren’t categorized as games of chance.


However, many video games on both Xbox and PlayStation have systems called loot boxes. You can’t win money in these games, but loot boxes still act quite similarly, making them almost the same as gambling in a kiwi casino. What’s more, there are plenty of websites where you can use real money to bet on in-game items or play games like lottery and scratch cards.


When all of this is taken into account, it seems that gambling elements are becoming more prevalent in today’s video games than most of us think. We aim to delve deeper into the subject in this piece, so keep reading!

Are Loot Boxes the Same as Slots?

The first known loot box system was introduced in MapleStory, with an item dubbed Gachapon ticket. In this side-scrolling MMORPG, the tickets were sold for real money.


Over time, other games developed similar systems with loot boxes that award you with in-game elements (usually visual enhancements called skins) once you buy them with real money.


These so-called microtransactions wouldn’t be considered as gambling elements if it weren’t for the fact that they award you random items. You buy a loot box, and there’s no guarantee you’ll win what you want. You’re basically gambling to win a random prize, the same way you would in a slot game. Thankfully, exceptional items are usually quite common in these games.


Items from loot boxes like skins are becoming more and more popular, so more developers keep introducing these gambling elements in their games.

Pay-to-Win Microtransactions

Another popular form of microtransactions is the popular pay-to-win system. Through this system, you pay real money and get benefits and enhancements in the game. In most cases, you get things like better weapons or faster improvement to your skills. What’s also common is, once again, loot boxes, but these reward you with specific items.


If such microtransactions sound familiar, it’s probably because you’ve already encountered them many times in various mobile games. What’s more, today, it’s quite hard to find a free mobile game that doesn’t allow you to pay for in-game items and benefits.


Despite being most prominent in mobile games, these microtransactions keep appearing more and more in video games. The system will likely become more widely used in video games very soon.

Loot Gambling Websites

The most obvious gambling elements in video games can be found on in-game loot gambling websites. For example, sites where you can wager in-game items like skins from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are quite common today. On these websites, you get to use your in-game items as currency or real currency to play gambling games.


If you win in-game items through these gambling games, you can sell them on online marketplaces or use them in the game for yourself. Even though this is gambling, such sites are still mostly legal as there are no specific laws that govern this modern form of betting with in-game items. If you decide to join such sites, you need to be careful because not all are safe.

Player vs. Player In-Game Gambling

The most exciting form of gambling in today’s video games is when the developers insert real gambling games into their games, and you get to play them with your in-game characters.


Most players know about the publisher Rockstar Games and its popular titles like Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2. In the first, your character can find and play games like craps, roulette, blackjack, and slots. In the latter, your character can sit at tables and play poker or other card games with in-game currency.


In all cases, you can only win virtual, in-game currency that only exists in the game. But players have quickly found ways to exchange in-game currency between themselves and then convert it to real money.


This has been quite popular in World of Warcraft for a while now. Players gather in specific plates and use rolling bots to bet on in-game currency. Then they exchange the currency for tokens, which are usually bought with real money.

The Bottom Line

All in all, these examples clearly show that gambling elements are present in today’s video games. Sometimes the developers design these elements themselves, and sometimes the players find ways to turn in-game features into gambling experiences.


We hope that these elements will be improved in the future and regulated by the government, so we can all feel safe using them.

This is a paid guest post.


Thanks for reading! Let us know what your thoughts are on the article!