Gambling Problems More Prevalent In Esports Bettors, Says Study

September 3, 2021
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Esports bettors experience higher levels of gambling problems and harm than traditional sports bettors, according to a new research article.

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Esports bettors experience higher levels of gambling problems and harm than traditional sports bettors, according to a new research article.

Data was collected from 298 regular esports bettors and 300 sports bettors, who regularly bet on traditional sports, but not esports, and showed 64.8 percent of esports bettors met problem gambling criteria, compared with just 17.3 percent of sports bettors.

Additionally, 81.9 percent of the esports bettors experience at least incidence one gambling-related harm, compared with 45.3 percent of sports bettors.

“More frequent esports skin betting and skin gambling (on games of chance) were significant predictors of gambling problems amongst esports bettors,” according to the report.

The research was funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation as part of the Journal of Behavioural Addictions in Australia and seeks to gain a better understanding of the kind of people that participate in esports betting.

The findings add to a growing research base that video game-related gambling products, such as esports betting and skin gambling, are attracting young consumers who may be more vulnerable.

The Victoria academics said they support education programs and awareness campaigns directed at key stakeholders in order for governments to be “mindful of the need to appropriately regulate skin gambling in the online environment”.

Esports bettors were also more likely to be younger, university-educated, employed (lower-income earners) and speak a non-English language at home.

Findings also helped to support previous research that suggests esports bettors more frequently gambled on “riskier” traditional gambling activities where large amounts of money can be spent in short periods of time, such as casino table games and private bets.

However, more research is needed to identify other factors that explain why esports bettors are more at risk of experiencing harm than other types of bettors, they said.

Limitations of the study included having the sample group only representative of more involved gamblers, who are, in turn, likely experiencing higher levels of gambling problems and harms.

Additionally, the study only covered adults, and researchers believe it should be replicated with children “who may be more exposed to esports betting via video games and esports”.

“A longitudinal study would best capture whether participation in esports betting typically occurs prior to, or after, traditional gambling,” the researchers concluded.

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