What is gaming?
Under the Gambling Act 2005, “gaming” is playing a game of chance for a prize. Games of chance can also include games involving skill. Playing a sport is excluded from the definition of a game of chance. Examples of gaming would be playing casino games such as roulette, blackjack and poker in a casino or slots online.
What is a prize?
A prize is money or anything with value. A person can still play a game of chance even though they do not risk losing anything (i.e. it is not necessary to risk a stake).
What about gambling in video games?
In recent years, video games developers have monetised games titles by offering in-game items won through gameplay, exchanged with other players or purchased with real money. Regulators internationally and the Gambling Commission have raised concerns that this activity could be a lead-in to “hard” gambling for children. The Gambling Commission’s view is that where in-game prizes can be converted to cash, or traded for any item with a real-world value, this constitutes gambling. In closed-loop environments where items won cannot be traded for anything of value outside of a game, this does not fall into the definition of “gaming”.
What is “social gaming”?
Social games have the look and feel of real-money casino games, but without the ability to win a prize of any of value. Operators offer these games for entertainment and to avoid having to obtain a licence. Winning items such as chips, spins or tokens is only licensable where these can be traded out for cash or any item of value. If the prize has no monetary value, then offering these games is not regulated gaming. Regulators are keeping a close eye on social gaming operators to ensure that they comply with the law.
How do I find out more about gaming legislation?
The laws around gaming are complex with many pitfalls. You should always obtain detailed legal advice about your specific situation before proceeding. Please speak to Richard Williams at Keystone Law for further advice via the contact details below.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.