Gambling is an activity open only to adults. They need to be at least 21 years to gamble online. Online casinos are expected to deny their services to underage people. The anonymity of the internet does make it easier for underage gambler to slip through a good casino’s authorisation systems.
What’s more is that, there are also lots of improperly run casinos that turn a blind eye to such things as age just so that they can earn huge revenues. However, there has been a sudden six-month spurt in underage participation at a number of unregulated internet based casinos. Closer scrutiny has revealed that this is because these casinos permit young players to exchange their video game wins for gambling tokens.
The online gambling industry has been spooked by the reports of underage betting in large numbers because it will certainly result in increased regulation. The industry which is worth billions of dollars worldwide can hardly afford to attract the ire of lawmakers and regulators.
Gaming software developers and other companies in the industry have started taking steps to identify and shut down online casinos that actively look for underage customers. Most of this illegal online betting focuses on trade in ‘skins’ of the immensely popular video game Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). The company behind the game, Valve, has sent a legal communication to a number of websites that have been profiting from this trade by encouraging players to bet on rigged wagers. It is believed that there are at least 20 websites involved in this activity and that they have lots of customers in the age group of 13 to 18.
Trading in game skins has been going on for quite a while and this gives fans of a game an interesting way to interact with each other. As a matter of fact, skins trading was a very good activity right until someone got the idea to involve money in it. The overall size of the skins trade boomed in a very short while and it even began to harm the game itself. Many leading players of CS:GO were discovered to be acting in collusion with gambling sites to rig the betting market.
Players are required to pay approximately $2.50 so that they can have access to a number of crates that they find while playing CS:GO. The crates contain skins, but players have no inkling of what exactly they contain until they open them up. There is quite a good trade in rare skins. However, what is particularly disturbing is that these skins can be exchanged for gambling tokens, which kids shouldn’t even have access to.
This menace, and others like it, has attracted the attention of Australian lawmaker, Nick Xenophon who wants nothing short of a senate inquiry on how video games incorporate gambling and attract young players. Underage players are at high risk of becoming problem gamblers and they will move from these video games to regular gambling sites. Unauthorised gambling sites are no doubt taking advantages in loopholes in the outdated existing laws to make money off young and vulnerable customers.
Do You Have Teens at Home?
If you’re a parent and you’re worried that your kids may be involved in underage gambling, then you need to ensure that they don’t get addicted to it and hence, end up losing a lot of money. CS:GO is particularly popular among young boys. If you think that your son or his friends may be involved in gambling, you need to take action immediately. If you don’t want to talk to them directly about gambling fearing that they may not be honest to you about that, then try and talk to your children about what games they are currently playing, how they are liking it, their current levels, etc. Most likely, you’ll be able to get an idea about if they are involved in gambling or not.