Is Video Game Gambling The Next Big US Wager?
The world of online gambling is only now opening up to US residents, and with the rapid expansion of the industry comes a plethora of people who want in on the action.
The latest buzz comes from the gamer community, where industry insiders are considering their options when new laws take effect in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. Among the options is allowing gamers to bet against others in their online battles.
"We've reached a point where there is little left to the imagination within video games," said Analyst Grant Trowers. "Gamers have gotten very talented at the games they play, and naturally there is a competitive nature to the games. So it makes sense that at some point real-money wagering would become something that is explored."
It is not yet known how the laws in Nevada and New Jersey will address gambling on video games. The games are all connected via the Internet, and today's gamers have an entire nation of players to choose to compete with. Developers are not blind to the potential for a large gambling pool.
"I think there will be a lot of learning this year," said Big Fish Games CEO Paul Thelen.
Big Fish is one of the largest gaming providers in the the world. One of the detriments, however, to allowing gaming on video games, is the amount of underage players that are enjoying the games. There is the built-in problem of how to keep underage players from wagering.
Because of that, opponents are lining up against any form of gambling on video games.
To combat the potential problems associated with underage gambling, casino companies have started to explore the option of partnering with gaming companies and offering video games on their regulated platforms.
"Casinos know how to do business in a regulated environment," said Lathan and Watkins Attorney Roxanne Christ. "But gaming companies are bringing great content."