Where Is the Line Between Gaming and Gambling?

What are the similarities between gaming and gambling online? Where do you draw the line? In this article, we will talk about gambling and the risks of gaming.

Gaming is a broad term that covers diverse forms of play related activity. Therefore, regardless of whether you are playing video games or making real money stakes – all of these are examples of gaming.  

There are occasions where gaming is used to refer to a specific type of gambling activity. However, it’s important to realize that much diverse gaming is in reality variations of gambling, and pose a risk if not fully understood. 

For instance, though players in certain gaming niches are not staking real money or gambling online, they are taking valuable risks. To fully understand this reality, let’s look at the definition of gambling.

What is Gambling?

Gambling refers to the act of wagering money or valuable things on an event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning money or materials goods. With such a definition, it is easy to quickly state that non-financial transactions have no gambling foundations. 

However, even as many players of these non-currency defined games know from the onset that there is no real money value to whatever they might win during the game, there is still in-deed the thrill of winning. This thrill has made many players keep playing even when the odds of winning (a mere thrill) are not in their favor. 

Therefore, gaming is left uncheck might bring about the risks of gambling. 

Risks of Gambling

Gambling should be purely a form of entertainment, but it becomes an issue when the excitement takes foothold and the virtual world overcomes reality. 

One such example is the use of “loot boxes” or skins betting in video games or smartphones. In this case, skins of items can be won or bought (with real money) within the game to change the appearance of a weapon, avatar or character. Some games equally allow players to bet on, trade or sell their skins in the hope of a better one. 

In the case of skins betting, loot boxes require players to play with real money for the chance to win a virtual item.

Even games played on a fruit machine in an arcade with the family are indeed forms of gambling. All of them share the anticipation of winning something, even when it’s not about money or something truly valuable. 

Such habits without full awareness can lead to financial challenges as players would lose sight of how much they are truly spending on their gaming. When children are exposed to these habits without proper guidance, there is an increased likelihood of having a gambling addiction in the future

See the difference 

For some people, there is still a difference between gambling and gaming. The difference usually cited is that the outcome for gaming is achieved through skill while that for gambling is achieved by chance. Nevertheless, both are indeed similar even though they cannot be used interchangeably in different contexts. Therefore, the only true difference is that gaming refers to the broad definition of all kinds of play activities including those different forms of gambling. 


Gaming and gambling are indeed converged in the world we live in today, especially in events of gambling online. Many kinds of gaming activities with or without monetary rewards all have different degrees of gambling. 

Therefore, it is important to checkmate one’s spending habits on gaming features, whether it be placing real money stakes or paying for in-app purchases. Without rules, indiscriminate gaming can lead to gambling addiction or problem gambling. 

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