Video gaming and gambling

Find out more about video gaming and gambling and read more about the differences between the two types of games. 


Gambling can be sports betting, scratch cards, gaming machines, online casino, poker etc. Gambling can both be online and on-site in for example a kiosk, casino or in a gambling arcade. The age limit for most types of gambling is 18. 

Traditional gambling on gaming machines, roulette and scratch cards are games of chance. It means that it is completely random whether you win or not. However, the games are designed to make the player think that it is possible to figure out the game by applying a strategic knowledge and thereby win. 

Contrary to games of chance, there are the so-called combination games where chance is combined with skills and knowledge. Combination games are games such as sports betting. 

All types of gambling are designed to release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain that causes us to want to repeat an action. The riskier the game the more dopamine is released. If you gamble regularly and risky, large amounts of dopamine is released. It means that the brain will decrease its sensitivity to dopamine, and it makes it harder to feel joy in other aspects of life. Research shows that persons with gambling problems are affected more by gambling adverts than players without gambling problems. 

Video gaming 

Video games is a name for different computer and console games. The primary purpose with video gaming is entertainment. In the recent years, there has been a big increase in the use of the internet-based video games where the player is part of global gambling community as a part of a team. 

Video games are designed for the players to develop their skills through the game and as they get better, the level of complexity increases. Video games provides clear goals, gradual increase of control and immediate feedback. The games are designed with so-called hooks that activate the reward system of the brain. Such hooks are, for example, sounds, timing, or background music, which are carefully developed and planned to release dopamine. The issue may be that the brain releases a lot of dopamine that over time may decrease the brain’s sensitivity to dopamine. This may cause an addiction to the game and at the same time make it harder to find joy in other activities. Video gaming becomes a problem, when it gets in the way of other things in life. 

The blurred lines between video gaming and gambling 

Video gaming is a quickly developing area and video gaming and gambling have become closely intertwined. It can be hard to tell from each other because elements from gambling are incorporated into video games. Especially children and young people are vulnerable groups in relation to this as it is often these groups who play video games. 

Although gambling and video gaming are typically regarded as two different types of games, the lines between the two become increasingly blurred. It is decided by law that you must be 18 years old to gamble in Denmark, but video games only set age recommendations for players. 

Gambling elements in video games

Purchase and sales 

In some video games you will find gambling elements that are primarily related to loot boxes and skins. A loot box can be compared to a treasure chest which appears in various computer games in which there can be skins that are typically cosmetic enhancements for weapons. Players can sell their skins and thereby make money on them.

Video gaming and gambling

Some ways of using loot boxes are confusingly similar to gambling. You buy access to the loot box and can win skins. I.e., they have the same elements as in gambling, chance and a chance of winning. It is also possible to gamble your skins on a roulette outside the video game on a so-called third-party website without a Danish licence. This is called skin betting and is the same as gambling. 

Read more about loot boxes and skin betting

Gambling and addiction 

The gambling elements in the video games can trigger the same addictive mechanism with players as is the case with traditional gambling; just one more attempt, the hope to win back losses, and the belief that an unlucky streak can be broken if the game is continued. Some children and young people have spent a lot of money in the games and ending up using their parents’ credit card information without consent. 

At StopSpillet we also advise about problems with video gaming. At the moment, there are no state-funded treatment options offering free treatment of problems related to video gaming.

Call StopSpillet on 70 22 28 25 or chat with us on