The Canadian state of British Columbia has just finished a twelve month assessment carried out with more than 150 video gamers in order to explore the link between gaming and gambling addiction.

The study reflects increasing concern among betting regulators over the way that video-game developers and their gambling-product counterparts are swapping features, leading to what has been described as the ‘gamification’ of the gambling industry and the ‘gamblification’ of video games.

The study ran between October, 2018, and November, 2019. It is set to be used by regulators as a resource for analysing risk factors as well as for making recommendations in the area of counselling support for all video gamers. Results are expected to be released in 2020.

Speaking about the study, the head of Gambling Policy for British Columbia, David Horricks, said that the 165 people involved were seen by counsellors, and that overall the study shows the need for more scrutiny of what is a new and growing problem:

“This whole industry is new, and people are just starting to understand the implications of the merging of these industries. We’re at the very front of this.”

Politicians and concerned groups around the world have raised concerns about some video games, asking for some games or practices to be officially labelled as gambling. The practice of offering so-called ‘loot boxes’ to players during video game play has been widely criticised and, in some jurisdictions,, action has been taken to classify this as gambling.

According to Mr Horricks, his department is likely to come up with recommendations on the value of offering counselling for those found to exhibiting signs of problem. But he ruled out making recommendations on the possibility of regulating games, expressing the view that this was a bigger subject and required more in-depth study.

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