With scrutiny on skin gambling at an all time high after high profile cases involving prominent YouTubers, the UK Gambling Commission has published their annual report on gambling habits and practices in the UK, and for the first time the industry regulator looked at the practice of skin betting and specifically how the practice effects 11-16 year olds.
In their findings as reported by the BBC, the Commission surveyed just over two and half thousand 11-16 year olds and found that 55% of them were 'aware of' the practice of betting with in-game items or skins, and that 11% of them had indulged in the practice itself.
The behaviour appeared to be more pronounced with boys, with 59% of them knowing about the activity and 20% participating in it compared to the girls, where less than a third knew (31%) and only 3% had taken part. There was a marked difference in age too; only 3% of eleven year olds had reported to taking part in the activity, a figure which jumped up to 14% fore the ages of 14-16. A further trend in the inclination to participate in skin betting came from those who had bet in the previous week at 24%, and 30% who had played other online gambling-style games.
In a press release accompanying the report, Gambling Commission Chief Executive Tim Miller mentioned how the relative lack of policing of these areas so far needs to change, saying 'It is clear that many children’s experiences of gambling-style activities are coming from the playground, the games console or social media rather than the bookmaker, the casino or the gambling website.'
It'll be interesting to see what moves, if any, the UK government will take from the report, but it's pretty fair to say publishers will be taking notice and will no doubt be looking very closely at this sort of practice going forward before the decision is taken out of their hands.
You can read the commission's full report here.