Games That Cross the Line between Gaming and Gambling

Though there is a palpable difference between ‘gaming’ and ‘gambling’, the terms are now often used interchangeably. In the strictest sense, gaming is an entertainment activity, with no expectations of real-money rewards. Gambling, on the other hand, provides a different type of entertainment – the expectation and thrill of winning real-money by playing a variety of games.

But then sometimes the lines get blurry……..

Today, there is a range of video games that offer different minigames, which resemble traditional casino games. These in-games enable gamers to put in real money and satisfy their urge to take risks, without having to bear the consequences apart from losing a little money.

Here is a list of video games, which offer a break from the main game and provide casino games, where real money changes hands for virtual rewards:

  • Fallout New Vegas

This video game is set in Las Vegas, which has just survived an apocalypse. The adventure here, is to help the main hero find his way across the devasted Nevada Strip. Chances are that you may stray into one of the casinos, which are still functioning amidst the ruins. This can be a welcome distraction for players, who are offered fixtures like slots and card games. According to hardcore gamers, Fallout New Vegas is one of the hottest video games today.

  • Red Dead Redemption 2

The second game in the franchise takes gamers to the Wild West, where players need to be quick on the draw and shoot straight. The game brilliantly recreates the aura of the classic Westerns of the sixties. Here players can relax at a saloon and nurse a drink while playing a couple of rounds of poker or blackjack with the locals. This action-packed game is tremendously popular,and there are indications that the saloon will be replaced by a real casino in the next sequel.

  • GTA V

When this video game was launched six years ago, it did not have a casino. However, GTA V had a gala opening, and was enthusiastically received by its fans since it offers various avenues of real-money gambling on racetracks, slot machines, and wheel of fortune, besides tables where poker and blackjack are played.

  • Witcher 3

Witcher 3 is the virtual version of Gwent, a card game with compelling features. Even though Gwent is not a traditional casino game, it still offers gambling opportunities, with its highly exciting and immersive game play. This video card game became such a roaring hit that it is now virtually played outside the original Witcher 3 platform, including online Gwent tournaments.

  • Knights of the Old Republic

This is another extremely popular video game, which got infused with gambling elements somewhere along the way. It offers a very interesting and engaging minigame called Pazaak, a fictional card game, which uncannily reminds you of blackjack.

Loot Boxes

Many video games include loot boxes that sell random items, which can help in various ways during the gaming process. The games developers do not reveal the contents of the loot boxes. This is one of the surprise elements of the game, and players are induced into spending real money without knowing what they will eventually get.

Loot Boxes
If it looks like gambling, smells like gambling, it is gambling

Gambling Impulsivity

Video games don’t have any age restrictions and these games are mostly played by kids who are being exposed to gambling without really knowing about the repercussions. The games bring mammoth profits to the global games industry, which claims that there is no compulsion to purchase. While this may be true, children’s excitement and anticipation while opening these mystery packages, which can be seen in numerous videos on YouTube, does reveal a disturbing picture.

One of the ways to still remain in gaming mode is to utilize casino bonuses that do not require a deposit, also known as a no-deposit bonus. The thing is, as soon as people are using real money to get a random item, things get tricky. It’s a small step to games allowing you to win real money, and that my friend is gambling.

Though it is not a given that such an experience would turn the child into a gambling addict, there are definite chances that children attached to loot boxes may display some of the negative effects of gambling like mood swings, and symptoms of depression, etc. Then there is something called gambling impulsivity. The need to push your chances and the adrenaline rush that accompanies it, can soon be transferred to more conventional avenues of gambling.

Legislative bodies in America and Europe have raised their concerns and have pushed for more regulation on these video games. However, the whole issue is open to debate, with the lucrative tax revenue from iGaming, playing a key role in the indecisiveness of authorities. In the 90s, there were several lawsuits, which claimed that ‘Pokemon’ cards contained certain gambling elements. Experts say that attempts to curb gambling in video games will be just as unsuccessful as those lawsuits.

Rupesh Kumar

First, I am an online marketing professional, as well as a night time gamer with a wide array of interests. Aside from constantly writing about games, I also enjoy writing about my other hobbies such as fitness, cooking, home DIY projects and travel. Contact me at

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