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Investigating relationships between video gaming, spectating esports, and gambling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


An established body of research exists in which playing video games has been associated with potentially problematic behaviours, such as gambling. An issue highlighted by the recent emergence of game-based gambling practices such as loot boxes, social network casinos, free-to-play game mechanics, and gambling using virtual goods and skins. This study investigates relationships between a range of gambling activities and the consumption of video games in general, and the newly emergent phenomenon of esports in particular. In addition, these practices are considered in relation to established measures assessing game addiction and problematic gambling. The study employs Partial Least Squares modelling to investigate data gathered via an international online survey (N = 613). Video game addiction was found to be negatively associated with offline gambling, online gambling, and problem gambling. Video game consumption had only small, positive association with video game-related gambling and problem gambling. Consumption of esports had small to moderate association with video game-related gambling, online gambling, and problem gambling. The primary finding of this study are that contemporary video games are not, in themselves, associated with increased potential for problematic gambling, indeed, the position that problem gaming and problem gambling are fundamentally connected is questioned.


  • Addiction, Esports, Free-to-play, Gambling, Games, Virtual Goods

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland