Virtual goods are the items purchased in a video game using microtransactions.

What are virtual goods?


Virtual goods are items that can be purchased or won within a video game.

They either improve the gameplay (e.g. a more powerful gun) or change the aesthetic of the game (e.g. the look of a gun)

Some virtual goods can be bought and sold on online marketplaces for real money.

Aside from their in-game use, virtual goods can be used to gamble or bet.

The most expensive virtual item ever sold was the Club Neverdie in the game Entropia Universe. Club Neverdie is popular night club and was sold for $635,000 USD

Why you should be concerned



Virtual goods can be used to bet on the outcome of Esports matches (organised video game competitions). This is very similar to sports betting. The can also be used to gamble with on casino style, unregulated websites. Think of the virtual goods like casino chips.


Gambling with virtual goods are promoted within the video games themselves, their forums and on streaming sites like YouTube and Twitch. It is not promoted on traditional media like TV or newspapers. According to a 2017 UK Gambling Commission report 20% of boys aged 11 to 16 have bet with their virtual goods; 59% are aware of the activity. Are you?


Gambling with virtual goods is not recognised as gambling and therefore not covered by the Victorian Gambling Act 2003.


Of the total Esports gambling market of USD 8 billion in 2016, around USD 7.4 billion was through gambling with virtual goods.



  • Discuss the risks of gaming with your child and encourage your child to reach out for help when needed.
  • Don’t give your children access to your passwords. Know which games are downloaded and played.
  • Have a play of the game yourself. You’ll quickly work out if the game is appropriate or not.
  • Monitor your credit cards and look for unaccounted expenses
  • Ask your child how they can best balance screen-time and real life activities. It empowers them to do the right thing.
  • Let game developers and government know that you expect games to be designed safely.



  • Introduce regulation that ensures that minors are not engaging in predatory lootbox mechanics.
  • Fund Education Campaigns so children are aware of the risks of gambling and how they can infiltrate video games.
  • Run an awareness campaign about how gambling is found in video games.
  • Introduce clear consumer protection guidelines so children do not run the risk of normalising gambling.
  • Provide ethical frameworks to the video game industry and engage them into long-term, supportive and collaborative conversations about safety online.

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