Skins in the Game

RSPH have published a report revealing young people consider gambling to be an increasingly normal part of their lives.


What's the issue?

Based on a survey* of young people across the UK aged between 11 and 24, Skins in the Game identifies that a majority of young people see both purchasing a loot box (58%) and taking part in skin betting (60%) as forms of highly addictive gambling. In order to protect the health and well-being of young people, RSPH is calling upon the new Government to update the legislation currently in place around the issue of gaming and gambling, ensuring that both loot boxes and skin betting are fully legally defined and recognised as forms of gambling.

What's a loot box?

Loot boxes, which are purchased by two in five (40%) of young gamers, are items embedded within games, containing randomised rewards which are uncertain at the point of purchase. These can be cosmetic, such as ‘skins’ that change the appearance of an in-game character, or provide users with an advantage in gameplay.


55% of young people

believe that playing a mobile or video game could lead to a young person gambling

79% of young people

believe that buying a loot box could be addictive for a young person

54% of young people

see the relationship between gambling and gaming as a negative one for young people

What are we calling for?

  • A commitment from the gaming industry to ensure gamble-free video and mobile games for under 18s and the development of a set of criteria and the technology required to identify problematic in-game spending
  • A broader definition of gambling to be included in the Health Education Curriculum and introduced to young people at primary school and the development of education programmes for parents and carers on gambling harms
  • The recognition of gambling harms as an important issue for Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges

Skins in the Game also highlights concern surrounding the normalisation of gambling in football, with our report revealing two in five (41%) 11-16 year olds are exposed to gambling sponsorship on TV or radio at least once a month. The report calls for:

  • The introduction of legislation preventing gambling operators from acting as title sponsors for sports clubs
  • The imposition of contractual requirements preventing sports professionals from endorsing gambling-related activity

*Find out more information on the focus groups and surveys conducted as part of this research here

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