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eSports, skins and loot boxes: Participants, practices and problematic behaviour associated with emergent forms of gambling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-41
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume21
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

Twenty years since the Internet transformed gambling products and services, the convergence of online games and gambling has initiated a new means of consuming Internet-based media. Gambling specifically connected to eSports is a significant development, not only offering a new avenue for existing gambling products to be inserted into gaming media but also affording several novel experiences (e.g. skins and loot boxes). This study assesses participation rates and demographic characteristics of eSports spectators who gamble via an international online survey (N = 582). The sample highlighted the prevalence of young, often under-age, males in eSports-related gambling activities. Participation in gambling, and gambling-like activities, was found to be 67%, with rates of problematic and potentially problematic gambling in the sample being 50.34%. Finally, increased gambling is associated with increased spectating of eSports. Although the results are not generalisable to the wider population, they suggest a need for increased attention, from academia and regulators, regarding newly emergent gambling behaviours in contemporary digital culture.

Keywords

  • eSports, free-to-play, gambling, gamification, loot boxes, problem gambling, skins gambling, video games

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland