The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has called for parents to be vigilant to the dangers of children gambling on video games.
The national regulatory body recently published a paper on virtual currencies, esports and social gaming, highlighting that many websites associated with video game gambling are illegal.
Last month, the Commission carried out a first-of-its-kind prosecution of two men that had been running a website allowing people to bet on popular football video game ‘Fifa’.
“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 real worry,” UKGC chief executive 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.
“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.”
Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has spoke positively about the paper and has given her backing to the Commission’s warning.
Crouch said: “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.”
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