Skin Gambling Contributes to Gambling Problems and Harm After Controlling for Other Forms of Traditional Gambling

Nancy Greer, Matthew Rockloff, Nerilee Hing, Matthew Browne, Daniel L. King

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Esports betting and skin gambling involve betting on the outcomes of video game competitions and/or using virtual currencies for betting. The present study evaluated a conceptual model linking video game involvement, video-game related gambling, traditional gambling, and gambling problems and harm. Data were collected via a cross-sectional online survey with 737 participants aged 18 + who engaged in esports cash betting (n = 576), esports skin betting (n = 184), or skin gambling on games of chance (n = 330). The findings highlighted the distinctly different relationships esports cash betting versus skin gambling had with traditional gambling involvement and harmful gambling. Gambling with skins on games of chance was predictive of gambling problems and gambling harm after controlling for participation in traditional gambling (OR = 1.32 and 1.17 respectively). Whereas betting on esports with cash was associated with betting on a variety of other forms of gambling, and there was no unique contribution to problems and harm over and above participation on these other forms (e.g., EGMs, sports betting). Skin gambling is directly implicated in gambling problems and harm, whereas cash betting on esports is only indicative of interest in many forms of potentially harmful gambling. Greater research attention to skin gambling is warranted, and particularly with respect to its role as a virtual currency more easily accessible for gambling.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Gambling Studies
Early online date25 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Feb 2022


  • Esports betting
  • Gambling
  • Gambling harm
  • Gambling problems
  • Loot box
  • Skin gambling


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