What to Watch For with Roblox
Published: October 23, 2023
Roblox, a popular gaming platform with a large player base of minors, has been accused of illegally profiting by allowing opportunities for minors to gamble with virtual currency, or Robux, through different apps. According to an article from Bloomberg Law, two parents recently filed a complaint after their children lost money in the form of the platform’s internal currency on third-party gambling websites.
The complaint says that in the Roblox Corp. terms of service, the company claims to bar “experiences that include simulated gambling including playing with virtual chips, simulated betting, or exchanging real money, Robux, or in-experience items of value.” The parents who submitted the complaint allege that the guidelines are “misleading,” because the company allows third-party websites to accept online bets.
With scenarios like this becoming more common, it’s important to talk to your kids about the risks associated with spending money on video games. In-game purchases like loot crates, skins, and spin-to-win are a popular part of many games. They don’t look like traditional gambling, but there are similarities in the way they function. Make sure you discuss the implications of spending real money on video games. Sometimes it helps to explain that it would be more fun to use that money to purchase something more tangible.
The temptation to participate in purchasing in-game items is often amplified by social pressure. Kids want to keep up with their friends and avoid missing out on the fun. For example, a friend’s parents might allot a larger budget for their children to spend on a multiplayer game, and your child might expect you to do the same lest they miss out on the fun. By talking openly about the situation with your children, you can help them develop a healthy relationship with video games and the spending involved. These conversations will also help to minimize their risk for problem gambling in the future.
Here are a few points to help get the conversation started:
- Explain that gambling results in losses more often than wins
- Spending money on something tangible is better than losing it all on a bet
- Explain that underage gambling is illegal
- Ask questions about their experience and listen to their answers. If you can spend time playing the game with them, you’ll gain an excellent understanding of the risks they’re facing when they play
The earlier individuals are introduced to gambling, the more likely they are to become problem gamblers as adults. By starting the discussion at a young age, you’re setting a precedent of responsible gambling for the whole family. For more free resources to help facilitate the conversation, visit ChangeTheGameOhio.org/education.