You’re viewing the international version of the website. Choose preferred region to see the regional version of the website.
Contact Us

Online Gaming vs. Online Gambling: Differences and Overlaps 2024

March 27, 2021
3 min

The terms “gaming” and “gambling” may sometimes be confused and used interchangeably. However, these two terms refer to different activities that have little in common. The Slotegrator team has prepared an overview of what “gaming” and “gambling” mean, how these two terms differ, and when they may overlap.


The differences between gambling and gaming become clear when we define the two terms. Gambling refers to wagering money on events with an uncertain outcome. It should always involve three elements: wagered money, an element of chance or risk, and the possibility to win a prize.

Gaming refers to playing interactive computer and video games. These can be based on skills and strategies, or simply forms of entertainment.

Gambling is wagering money on games with an uncertain outcome and involves risk.

Gaming is playing interactive computer and video games.

Forms of gaming include:

  • video games;
  • role-playing video games;
  • multiplayer online games;
  • tabletop games.

Forms of gambling include:

  • slots;
  • card games;
  • baccarat;
  • lotteries;
  • poker;
  • roulette;
  • Bingo;
  • betting;
  • wheel of fortune, etc.


Despite the different nature of gaming and gambling, these two activities may sometimes overlap.

  1. Legalized gambling may sometimes be referred to as gaming in law.
  2. Esports betting is considered gambling.

Esports, or electronic sports, refers to video game tournaments and competitions. The most common video game genres are multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), first-person shooter (FPS), fighting, and real-time strategy (RTS). Among popular esports games, there are LoL, Dota 2, CS, StarCraft, and many others.

Esports is a type of gaming activity. However, when it comes to betting on esports, it falls under the gambling category, because the element of wagering money is involved. Currently, esports betting is considered one of the fastest-growing categories in online gambling and is expected to reach up to $8 billion in total wagers in 2019.

  1. Gambling and gaming elements are sometimes mixed.

Sometimes gaming activities introduce gambling elements. One example is the recent Diamond Casino and Resort update for GTA online. The video game has gambling elements within the game - players have the opportunity to visit the casino and play slots or poker. They can use real money to purchase in-game currency and exchange it for casino chips. As a result, the new update was banned in over 50 countries.

Apart from the introduction of gambling elements to online games and games on social media, there are different possibilities of overlap:

  • The cross-selling of online gambling sites to social gaming customers;
  • The introduction of gaming features to online gambling platforms;
  • The existence of similar games on social gaming resources and online gambling platforms owned by the same operator;
  • The gamblification of games, allowing players win items of value.

Gaming and gambling refer to entirely different activities. However, they may sometimes overlap. The possibility of convergence between gambling and gaming creates a potential for new games and activities to be introduced in the future.

Slotegrator offers everything gambling operators need to launch and expand online casino and sportsbook projects. The company offers a wide range of products, including White Label online casino and sportsbook platform development, game content, betting data feeds and payment systems integration. Slotegrator also provides legal consultancy and administrative assistance for gambling license acquisition and regulatory compliance.

Leave a comment

Get in touch with us by filling out the form below:

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

More from slotegrator

By clicking on the Fine button, you accept our website's cookies policy.

Find out more