Skins gambling and the purchasing of in-game loot boxes will generate $50 billion by 2022,  according to a ​study by Juniper Research. Popular games such as Overwatch, Fortnite: Battle Royale, PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive all feature this phenomenons.

​​Between purchasing loot boxes in games like Overwatch, or spending ​real money for V-bucks in Fortnite: Battle Royale, the $30 billion estimated from this year is expected to increase by $20 billion in four years. 

The report went on to talk about some of the biggest contributors to this growth, naming Steam's Marketplace as part of the skin gambling phenomenon. Research author Lauren Foye explained: "On PCs, skins are traded for real money via Steam’s 'Marketplace;' the platform has 125 million registered users globally."

Juniper Research's report mentioned children as young as 11-years-old are participating in skin gambling online. "Around 500,000 children under the age of 15 could be using skins for gambling." 

The loot box feature in video games is now considered illegal gambling in the Netherlands, after a press release from the ​Dutch Gambling Society prohibited loot boxes from games.The organization's announcement explained that because "the prizes can be traded outside the game: the prizes have economic value. It is forbidden to offer this type of games of chance without a license to the Dutch players."

CS:GO developer Valve has cracked down significantly on skins gambling in attempt to keep underage players from participating in the act. Valve sent a cease and desist letter to 23 skins gambling websites in July 2016, which caused a dent in the skin trade. Most recently, Valve ​imposed a seven day trade ban on all skins players acquire in an attempt to further curb the phenomenon.

Cover photo courtesy of Epic Games