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Skin Gambling What is it & What do Parents need to know

It’s likely you’ve heard the term ‘Skins’ by now.  As in

‘Dad there’s this brilliant new skin!!!. It’s only ????!hundred vbucks. It’s only available for 24 hrs and it’ll never be back! Pleeeeeese can I have it??’

BTW they’re always back. And 24 hrs normally equates to 3-4 days.

Anyways if you’ve a Fortnite Battler in the house, you’ll have been cajoled/pressurized/bribed/manipulated J at some point to fork out for the latest Skin.  For those few parents fortunate enough not to be au fait with Battle Royale, a ‘skin’ in Fortnite is a graphic which changes the appearance/clothes/accessories of a character in the game.  And sends your youngster into spasms of joy. Until the next coveted skin comes along. In a few days time.

Contrary to some Battlers opinion, they don’t increase the character’s abilities – or impact the outcome of the game.  They purely affect the look of the character.  

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

Is Skin Betting or Gambling new?

No. It’s been happening for a number of years. An article on BBC in December 2017 highlighted the issue of Skin betting citing ‘Children as young as 11 introduced to gambling’. 

Accessories and skins can be earned in games, but the coveted ones are far more likely to need your wallet.  Some games also let players trade and sell skins with rarer skins attracting higher value.  A number of websites now allow players the ability to gamble with their skins with the aim of winning the more valuable skins on offer. 

Skins have even now become a form of virtual currency with a potential cash exchange value – being used as ‘currency’ to bet on casino style games like roulette. 

Skins have also been known to be exchanged for virtual coins which can be used for gambling on certain websites – with no age verification in place – children could potentially gamble away skins which have been purchased. 

Loot boxes and mystery chests are another form of skin gambling where players spend real money to buy hidden items.

Just to give you an idea of the scale –  the total value of skins gambled in 2018 was reported to be over 10 Billion.

While gaming is fun and can be sociable for kids it’s important they’re not taken advantage of online.  According to Parent Zone’s 2018 report ‘Skin Gambling: Teenage Britain’s Secret Habit’, 90% of 13-18 yr olds game online.  30% know about skin gambling and 10 % have gambled skins. Of children who know about skin gambling, 36% have gambled with skins.

Image Credit Pixabay User: user:RPF70

Heads Up For Parents

Look out for the Steam Platform designed to buy, sell and trade skins for virtual or real currency, there were also other sites which enable skin gambling like Twitch and Youtube. Importantly Twitch has now outlawed skin gambling.  Pocket money and personal account money dwindling may also be an alert. 

Stay safe online,


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Wayne Denner shares his knowledge & expertise on leading tech industry blog.

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