SuperData examines gambling practices across the online gaming industry

Gambling in video games has been a huge topic for devoted MMORPG players over the last year or so, as core MMOs like Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Elder Scrolls Online have added or tweaked lockboxes, Path of Exile has raised the bar on lockbox transparency, Valve has been hassled by regulatory bodies for enabling underage gambling, and countries have considered classifying certain MMO practices as gambling for the purposes of regulation.

But it’s probably worth remembering that there is a very real and legitimized online gambling gaming industry out there competing for your dollars (in fact, some of them occasionally pop up in our remnant ads, depending on where you live, and we have to get out the mallet).

It’s all explained in a new report the analysts at SuperData prepared for the Dutch government as an overview of gambling practices in digital games, from the “social casinos” of Zynga and trading card games to e-sports bets and in-game item wagering.

Probably the most frustrating part is SuperData’s claim that almost two-third of Dutch and British social casino players exhibit “some form of potentially problematic gambling behavior,” and while social casinos do not actually involve betting real money, there’s plenty of real money being made in the genre, almost $3B in 2016, more than half of it from North America. And of course, those players are trained to move from social casinos to real-money betting (chiefly for the “excitement of risking money,” SuperData found).

There’s a bit of good news, though; SuperData argues that the legal dramas of 2016 “dramatically” shifted the course of virtual item wagering, such that “publishers are now avoiding all possibilities of gambing in-game.”

“Valve’s court appearance has set a precedent, and no other company wants to be next,” the company writes, using Overwatch (where Blizzard has made loot boxes untradeable) and EVE Online (where CCP has outlawed gambling entities) as examples.

Another key bit? While Hearthstone has been flagging of late, it took home a fifth of all digital CCG revenue last year. Not too shabby, Blizz.

The whole report is definitely worth a skim to see how e-sports is growing and how brick-and-mortar (heh) gambling corporations are entering what they see is a lucrative online space filled with suckers. I’d say we’re next, but we know it’s already upon us.

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13 Comments on "SuperData examines gambling practices across the online gaming industry"

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rafael12104

Ah SuperData. Moving up in the world! A report of the Dutch? Not a Dutch, but THE Dutch? Wow.

So, I have seen SuperData’s methodology and while I’m not statistician, I do think their numbers are solid based on their process. Now, extrapolating what the numbers may mean is another matter and they get close to that grey area more and more seemingly.

So, this is an interesting report and yet I’m left with the same feeling I get when I ask other players about gold farmers. A vast majority of players condemn the farmers and yet “BuyGold”.com is making bank.

miol
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miol

All this denying it’s not really gambling!
And yet here is the proof, if nothing else, that it’s a total gateway to it!
The perfect recruitment center of the young & vulnerable!

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camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Be interesting to see source data for that. Where did that chart come from?

miol
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miol

That’s what footnotes and source links are for!

¹Determined by SuperData in-house metrics and qualitative research

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Robert Mann

Social casinos, if one counts the stupid pay to progress crud that is so much of the mobile/facebook gaming scene (I do and the article seemed to,) made far more than that. Just in the first three quarters Facebook reported nearly $600 million revenue from it’s gaming (which is a 30% charge on all payments players make) meaning that a projection (I don’t have Q4 data) would say that (assuming 700 million total reported, so going low here probably) some 2.3 billion would have been spent on this on facebook alone.

I don’t really mind if people want to gamble, but what boggles my mind is why they want to do so in cruddy games.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke
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Shiro Madoushi

I hope every day that the law finally catches up to scumbag companies like Trion that peddle these gambling boxes.

Crow
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Crow

I see the very sad fact of people justifying their attachment to dings and boxes instead of their connections to other people. This was once a genre where we made connections. Now we make bets.

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Loyal Patron
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Cypher

Indeed, we’re building too many walls and not enough bridges!

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

At least one reason why I have rethought F2P and no longer think it is a good idea.

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Fenryr Grey

I’m actually unpleasantly surprised that this news has so little resonance in this community. But then again, most seem to very enjoy the likes of ESO.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

Twilight City gonna set my soul
It’s gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn
So get those stakes up high

There’s a thousand pretty women waiting out there
They’re all waiting, they’ll never make air
And I’m just the devil with a lung to spare, so

Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas

How I wish that there were more
Than the 24 hours in the day
Even if I ran out of speed, boy
I wouldn’t sleep a minute of the way

Oh that blackjack and poker and the roulette wheel
I’ll poach your money lost on every deal
All you need is sonar and nerves of steel, so

Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas
Where the neon signs flash your name
The one-arm bandits cash in
All soap’s down the drain
Viva Las Vegas
Turning day into nighttime
Turning night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again

Gotta keep on running
Gonna have me some money
If it costs me my very last dime
If I wind up broke
Then I’ll always remember that
I had a swingin’ time

Oh, I’m gonna give it everything I’ve got
Lady Luck’s with me, the dice stay hot
Got coke up my nose to dry away the snot, so

Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas
Viva, viva Las Vegas

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

*drawls* “Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?”

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