In the past, gaming and gambling were viewed as two distinct activities. Gaming relied on skill and was largely unrestricted, while gambling involved taking chances and required players to put money on the line.
Based on a study by Dr. Daniel L. King and Dr. Filipa Calado, the disparities between traditional gambling games like slot machines, poker, and roulette and social games on social networks have reduced in the last decade. Social games on social networks are designed in a way that is similar to traditional gambling games. Still, players are tempted to buy in-game items instead of real money to better their gaming experience, even though the games are free.
In 2018, the Supreme Court toppled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a law from 1992 that restricted most state-authorized sports betting outside of Nevada. This decision caused a significant overlap between online gaming and gambling.
Advancements in technology have made iGaming and gambling more similar. In 1992, when the PASPA was passed and put into effect, the internet was mostly used by academics and geeks. Tim Berners-Lee created the WWW in 1989 and made the first web browser in 1990 for desktop computers. However, compared to today, this technology was primitive.
The legalization of sports betting platforms like Indibet has made it harder to distinguish between iGaming and traditional forms of gambling. This is because more Americans are now betting on familiar sports like football, baseball, and basketball instead of casino games.
The growth of eSports can be attributed to the popularity of streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, Facebook Gaming, Caffeine, Owncast, Mobcrush, and Steam TV. eSports appeals to a younger audience who enjoy watching fellow digital natives play online, even if they are not top athletes. Additionally, older individuals are drawn to the gaming aspect of live streaming eSports, making it one of the fastest-growing areas in iGaming and gambling.
Esports now allows for sports betting, which blurs the distinction between iGaming and gambling. Gamblers can bet on classic computer games and use special promotions, which increases the likelihood of teenagers who play these games like Fortnite as they are familiar with the game’s mechanics and interested in it. There has been a growth in Twitch betting, making Twitch, a platform known for video game live streaming, a central hub for it.
With the rise of sports betting and the legalization of gambling for twenty and thirty-somethings raised on iGaming, we anticipate this group, who now have the financials to bet on sports, to push for more integration between iGaming and gambling.
The line between online gaming and gambling is rapidly fading, especially with the legalization of sports betting in the US. Advancements in technology have made iGaming and gambling more similar than ever before, allowing various activities to be grouped under one umbrella.
The growth of eSports has also contributed to this trend, allowing players to bet on classic computer games or watch others play them live. As both industries continue to evolve, we hope that regulations keep up with these changes not to put vulnerable people at risk while encouraging responsible forms of entertainment.