The Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) is taking direct aim at gambling operators who are illegally offering skin betting in the country amid rising cases of underage gambling.
In a note dated March 3, the NGA warned operators will face sanctions should they be caught offering skin betting in its jurisdiction.
The state regulator cited a survey called “Children and Media 2016,” which concluded that children are being groomed for gambling through first-person shooter games such as Counter-Strike and Dota.
According to the Media survey, 25 percent of Norwegian boys aged 15- to 16-years old had spent thousands of money for skins while playing the computer game “Counter Strike: Global Offensive.”
Skins are virtual items that people buy and trade in video games. The concept of skin gambling emerged when the money value of the skins was discovered in the market where there was a ready stream of customers willing to pay a certain price for a given skin.
This led to establishment of websites which allowed the Skins to be used as a replacement for money for the purpose of gambling.
For the NGA, skin betting is legally defined as gambling and therefore operators will face sanctions for it.
“Skins can normally not be exchanged for cash, but it is possible to take the skins out of the game and of other markets for buying and selling. There are separate online casinos where you can bet and win skins, and in such cases, skins a virtual currency that can be used for gambling,” read the note, which is posted on the NGA website. “We have seen several examples of Norwegian children and young people who have spent thousands of money from this.”
It concludes that using such a virtual currency for gambling brings the activity within its jurisdiction.
“A gaming site that allows betting and pays out prizes in skins is in our view an online casino, and in Norway, only Norsk Tipping is allowed to offer online casino.”