No Kidding – Why We Need To Protect Children From The Lure Of Gambling
Age Verification System Needed for Gambling websites
In an attempt to gain popularity with future generations of would-be gamblers, betting operators are deliberately targeting kids with their favourite cartoon characters in online betting games. In 2017, a report by The Gambling Commission released shocking figures, showing that as many as 450,000 children were involved in some form of gambling activity every week, with as many as six per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds have betted online using funds from their parents’ accounts.
With children as young as 5 being exposed to gambling sites by family members or through advertisements online and on television, using child friendly imagery and familiar characters is commonly used to peak their interest. With many sites offering minimum stakes from as little as 20p, the potential for children to normalise gambling culture is staggering.
Even though the gambling industry maintains that it only actively promotes responsible gambling to adults, research has found that many video games played over the internet are being exploited by third parties which allow children to gamble. They are able to do this because there are no official age verification checks in place.
Made popular by social media sites, many older children playing these games are unaware that they are gambling and could easily be led into more dangerous and drastic forms of betting as they mature. In the report, the Gambling Commission warned of a “dramatic increase” in so-called ‘skin gambling’ websites which encourage gamers to bet virtual items for real-world cash.
What Is Skin Gambling
A skin is a costume or design gamers can apply to their character, equipment or avatar to make it look more aesthetically pleasing. Skins are in-game items, used within some of the most popular video game titles, that can be earned within a game, but they can also be purchased with real money.
Some websites will allow players to trade and sell their skins for a chance to win more valuable ones. The ability to convert in-game items into cash, or to trade them for other items of value means that these skin sites should effectively require a gambling license. The Gambling Commission considers it an offence for online websites to provide facilities for gambling, especially when they are made available to children.
Earlier last year, the Gambling Commission did successfully prosecute people for the first time – after they we were found to be running an unlicensed gambling website connected to a video game.
How Can We Protect Children From The Dangers Of Online Gambling
Effective and fool proof age verification software is the most effective way to stop children under 18 from gaining access to areas of the internet that could be potentially see them exposed to gambling.
Agechecked, a developer of age verification software understands the danger of exposure to gambling sites from such a young age, and appreciates that it is never in the interested of the gaming company to be affiliated with these types of sites either. By designing and developing easy to use software that provides website owners with an age−gateway to add to their site, game developers and retailers could prevent potentially addictive habits forming. This type of age verification software provides web site owners with a protective layer to their website which quickly and effectively confirms a person’s date of birth, helping to prevent access to any areas of the site that are not intended for younger visitors.