The Young People and Gambling 2017 report has included for the first time a section
to explore awareness of and participation in ‘skins betting’ among young people.
‘Skins’ are in-game items, used within some of the most
popular video game titles. They provide cosmetic alterations to a player’s weapons, avatar or
equipment used in the game. Skins betting sites allow video gamers to wager cosmetic items
rewarded in-game or purchased for real money on a digital marketplace, accessible from the UK
for several years.
The topic was introduced to young people as follows: ‘When playing computer
games/apps it is sometimes possible to collect in-game items (eg weapons, power-ups and
tokens). For some games, it is possible to bet these in-game items for the chance to win more of
them.’ Young people were first of all asked if they ever play computer games or apps these days. Those
who answered ‘yes’ were then asked if they were aware of betting with in-game items and if they
had personally done so (and if so, how recently).
Overall, based on the description provided within the questionnaire, 45% of 11-16 year olds were
aware that it is possible to bet with in-game items when playing computer games or app-based
games. Almost six in ten boys (59%) knew about this activity compared to less than a third of girls
(31%). The survey found that 11% of 11-16 year olds claimed to have bet with in-game
items. The activity was more prevalent among boys (20%) than girls (3%).