Playing popular online video games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive & DOTA 2 could be classed as gambling if Independent Australian Senator Nick Xenophon gets his way in Federal Parliament next month.
Xenophon is looking for online gambling in video games to be more regulated, saying that the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 is “15 years old but may as well be 150 years old in terms of dealing with these issues.” While other video games will be affected by this legislation if it goes through, most of the focus seems to be on CSGO and the way players can obtain “Skins.” The act of opening a skin case and the animation of the skins cycling through bears a very close resemblance to slot machines. Skins that are unlocked vary in rarity and dollar value and can be sold on the Valve store or third party sites for Steam Credit. Skins can also be used as betting currency for competitive eSports games or on sites that offer chance-style casino like games.
Gambling on eSport games is estimated to be worth approximately $10.5 billion AUD with skin gambling alone worth an estimated $9 billion AUD. However this legislation could make it illegal for these gaming companies to seek payment for items with a chanced varied value, a minimum age required for pay-to-play could be introduced, and these games could be required to show clear warnings that they may include online gambling.
It will definitely be interesting to see what effect this legislation would have on the online gaming community in Australia. Feel free to give us your thoughts and opinions on this subject below or on our Facebook page here.