Policymakers are turning some attention to a recent development: the convergence of gaming and gambling. These platforms, services, and products are resulting in some consumer vulnerability considering that both gambling and gaming can be addictive. Researchers are studying different aspects of convergence, although the phenomenon’s wider context has not been fully assessed, given how recent it is.

In light of the related trends and developments, this article looks at framings and definitions, lawmakers’ response, risk, drivers, contexts, and other crucial areas of inquiry associated with the convergence of gaming and gambling.

Gaming vs. Gambling: Defining Concepts

The concepts of gambling and gaming are quite similar to the extent of these terms being used interchangeably in some cases. However, there’s one key difference: for gambling, you achieve a positive outcome by chance or luck. For gaming, it’s achieved through skill.

After converging, what determines the outcome? Clearly a bit of both. Many gambling activities now have gaming components and vice versa. These activities are known as game-like gambling and gambling-like gaming. Researchers have established a framework to set them apart, considering how rapidly they’ve grown in popularity in the not-too-distant past and the high degree of overlap.

Examples of Product Convergence

Video games that come with betting activities are an example of this convergence. Another example involves opportunities to play casino games on social media. Loot box video games, where you can pay for access to some game features, are also a case in point. However, loot boxes have been prohibited in some locations because of how similar they are to gambling. The number of players betting on various results of video games is on the rise.

If one is to look at game-like gambling, a typical example is TV game show-themed machines. These machines introduce the element of skill, which differentiates them from pure gambling. It’s either that or a function, which introduces a presumed need of a certain skill. Scientists express the opinion that such functions not only help attract younger players, but also sustain their interest.

The Benefits of Convergence

Online gambling sites and mobile gaming platforms have transformed operations in the online gambling industry. They give software producers and casino operators an excellent way to serve millions of players worldwide. No online casino should start out without considering mobile platforms and apps.

The convergence of gambling and gaming has made both activities more exciting. It has also resulted in more intensive participation, which was expected. Further research is needed to grasp the real effect of the convergence of gaming and gambling on users.

The Differences between Gaming and Gambling

Gaming is a formal play expression and comes in different genres and types. Games can be digital or electronic and played on a smartphone or desktop. They can be console-based. They can include Scrabble, Monopoly, and other board games. Finally, they can involve role-playing or social play, like games on social media.

In its purest form, gambling involves making bets in cash or another valuable asset on an event, the outcome of which is not certain. Typically, it has three components: a prize, a risk, and a consideration. The prize is usually money or something else with economic value. Risk comes from reliance on luck or chance. Finally, the consideration is the wager, be it cash or another asset.

This distinction would seem to make gambling far more straightforward than gaming. Still, efforts have been made to categorize games. A “traditional” categorization involves the concept of four types of games, broadly speaking: vertigo-type games, simulation games, chance-based games, and competitive games. The second two types are critical in the combination of luck, chance, and skill that they offer.

Are There any Risks of Convergence?

The convergence of gaming and gambling comes with certain risks. It exists in numerous contexts that overlap. These include games and gambling on social networks, free online gambling, gambling on game outcomes, games with elements of gambling, and gaming elements in gambling. They are all driven by commercial interest as well as technological progress. One risk involves moving from free games (bets are virtual, no money is involved) to gambling with real money or another asset and losing it. Legislators are becoming attentive to these potential problems. Still, evidence of harm and risk is somewhat limited, leading lawmakers to postpone concrete action on gambling-gaming hybrids in certain regions.