Skin Betting: A Guide for Parents and Guardians
“Skin betting” is when players exchange virtual goods that they’ve earned in online video games for real money and virtual gambling chips. The “skin” is something in the game that can change the appearance of characters in video games.
Because video games don’t allow this kind of illegal activity, it happens outside the game on unauthorised websites. A recent ruling by the Danish Gambling Authority has requested that telecoms companies block fifteen illegal skin-betting websites in Denmark. ISFE CEO Simon Little commented on the news, saying, “We call on gambling authorities across Europe to follow the example of the Danish Gambling authority to further support efforts to stop illegal practices such as “skin-betting”. Video games businesses do not allow, facilitate, or condone the conversion of virtual items or currencies into money or the use of them outside the game such as within unlicensed third-party gambling sites”.
Here’s everything you need to know about skin betting as a parent.
How Trading Game Items Happens
In most games, you can earn game items (mostly tools you use in the game like football shoes or weapons) or currencies (virtual money you can spend in a game). In some games, you can also trade these game items or currencies within the game, but you can never exchange them for real money.
But there are illegal third-party websites that offer to buy or trade your game items or currencies outside of the game. Buying or trading items in this way is in violation with the rules of the games and illegal. It distorts the gameplay and can lead to players being excluded from the game.
What Are The Risks
- Players who are active on these sites run the risk of being exposed to ill-disposed actions by people they do not know.
- In order to trade, people often have to give their account information, passwords or other personal information – that is very risky.
- External trading is an illegal activity.
- There is no guarantee that you will actually receive the money or the item you are betting on.
- The terms and conditions of games do not allow external trading of in-game items: they can get your child banned from their favourite game.
How To Guide Your Child
Because this kind of trading and betting doesn’t happen on the game console itself, it’s important that in addition to parental controls on these systems, you also have appropriate settings on other devices in the home.
Playing games with your child ensures you understand and discuss how in-game purchases and character “skins” work. You can discuss whether they are good value as well as highlight the importance of keeping any trading or purchasing of these within the game itself.
As with any online activity, it’s important your child knows not to share personal information with people online, particularly unofficial websites that offer incentives like trading skins. This can be a good way to lead into a discussion about gambling and how to keep their gaming safe and fun.
It’s also good to recognise the value of earning these items in video games as a mark of success. This is often the result of considerable hard work and skill on the part of the player and is an opportunity to congratulate them.