Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Gambling and video games: What do we know? Should we worry?

Session Title

Session 1-3-B: Getting Social – Games, Responsibility, and Game Play

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

28-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

28-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology

Abstract

Abstract: In the United States, at least 65% of adults have gambled and/or played a video game in the past year. An emerging form of entertainment combines gambling and video game play and has led to an approximately $30 billion per year industry. Despite an explosion in growth, this form of potentially high-risk behavior has received little research attention. This paper will present a systematic review of the available peer-reviewed and grey literature related to gambling on video games.

Our review identifies three major methods of combining gambling and video games. First is betting directly on the outcomes of eSports, either with money or via skin gambling. Second is gambling within video games where players purchase a chance to win a valued prize or consumable virtual item (e.g., loot box, prize crate, gacha). Prizes change the within game experience, from superficial items that change an in-game character’s appearance to items that substantially improve a player’s chance of winning. Further, if desired, these items can be sold for actual money in secondary marketplaces. Third, there are gamified casino games with the sequential, skill-based feel of video games and real money at stake.

Implications: This paper is the first comprehensive review of this nascent literature. Results will provide clinicians with important insights into the language and behaviors of clients who gamble on video games. Further, findings may have future policy implications as some gambling on video games is potentially accessible to underage gamblers.

Keywords

gambling, video games, systematic review, eSports

Author Bio

Meredith K. Ginley, PhD is an assistant professor of psychology at East Tennessee State University. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from The University of Memphis in 2016 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in addiction at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Her research interests center understanding risk factors for the development of behavioral and substance use disorders. She is also interested for improving treatment outcomes for individuals with addictive behaviors.

Rory A. Pfund, MS is a fifth-year student in the clinical psychology program at The University of Memphis. He received his Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of Scranton in 2013. His research interests center on the processes and mechanisms that improve psychotherapy outcomes for individuals with gambling disorder. He is particularly interested in understanding the process of initiating and continuing psychotherapy to reach a successful outcome.

Christin N. Collie, BA is a third-year student in the clinical psychology program at East Tennessee State University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2016. She has contributed to several studies on video games and mental health. She is particularly interested in improving assessment of problems related to video game play.

Funding Sources

The project is supported in part by start-up funds awarded to Dr. Ginley from East Tennessee State University.

Competing Interests

All authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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May 28th, 1:45 PM May 28th, 3:10 PM

Gambling and video games: What do we know? Should we worry?

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Abstract: In the United States, at least 65% of adults have gambled and/or played a video game in the past year. An emerging form of entertainment combines gambling and video game play and has led to an approximately $30 billion per year industry. Despite an explosion in growth, this form of potentially high-risk behavior has received little research attention. This paper will present a systematic review of the available peer-reviewed and grey literature related to gambling on video games.

Our review identifies three major methods of combining gambling and video games. First is betting directly on the outcomes of eSports, either with money or via skin gambling. Second is gambling within video games where players purchase a chance to win a valued prize or consumable virtual item (e.g., loot box, prize crate, gacha). Prizes change the within game experience, from superficial items that change an in-game character’s appearance to items that substantially improve a player’s chance of winning. Further, if desired, these items can be sold for actual money in secondary marketplaces. Third, there are gamified casino games with the sequential, skill-based feel of video games and real money at stake.

Implications: This paper is the first comprehensive review of this nascent literature. Results will provide clinicians with important insights into the language and behaviors of clients who gamble on video games. Further, findings may have future policy implications as some gambling on video games is potentially accessible to underage gamblers.