What’s in a game?

Young people and technology
Friday 27 July, 1010 – 1030


Megan Carroll
Australian Institute of Family Studies

According to the latest Digital Australia report, 68% of Australians play video games, and 30% of Australian adults report playing games online with strangers. Interest in video games outside of playing is also on the rise, with e-sport spectatorship, game streaming channels on YouTube and Twitch, and attendance at gaming cultural events and conventions all becoming increasingly popular. The developments in technology and society that evolved with this gaming culture have brought with them a range of novel gambling and gambling-like practices. These practices range from formal, simulated gambling within a game and informal gambling between players while playing online, to less clearly defined practices such as purchasing mystery loot boxes which randomly return items of differing value.

Using a few recent examples as case studies, this presentation will give a brief overview of the range of gambling and gambling-like components available in online multiplayer gaming, as well as betting on e-sports tournaments, and related issues such as virtual currencies and items of in-game value such as “skins”. After providing the background necessary to understand these emerging and novel gambling practices, we will briefly consider their potential for harm and present some considerations for regulation and future research.