Social Casino Games Studied

Tisha Walden | 01 Nov 2018

Social CasinosA recent study compiled by Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has concluded that social casino games may very well act as a gateway activity to paid gambling, especially concerning young people.

According to the study, adolescents are most at risk and in addition to this concerning statistic, those who started playing free games from a young age are more prone to develop an addiction to gambling later on in life.

Not Always Risk-Free

A leading scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at the centre, Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall, is of the opinion that despite the fact that social free-to-play casino games are considered to be risk-free where adults are concerned, it’s an entirely different scenario when adolescents are involved. This is because early exposure to gambling-related activities is considered to be the number one risk factor for developing unhealthy practices later in life.

The study included a survey that was conducted amongst teenagers living in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador. The teens were asked whether they have ever participated in online Poker, online slots, and social casino games on Facebook. Twelve percent of the teens that participated in the survey indicated that they had played during the course of the past three months.

The same teens that had indicated that they had been playing socially were also found to have developed an interest in real money play, making them significantly more likely to become involved in gambling activities than their non-playing peers.

False Sense Of Ability

Interesting to note too, is the fact that only 10% of teens who had been involved in real-money gambling, but not in free-to-play casino games, showed tendencies of developing an addiction, whereas an astonishing 37% to 50% of teenagers who had started out by playing for free would in all likelihood go on to develop problem behaviour.

Elton-Marshall put this down to the fact that social casino games presented with better odds, creating in young people a sense of being really good or lucky at gambling, and said that it was vital that teachers, parents, and the teenagers themselves, were made aware of the risks.

Leading online casinos that offer real money play to adults all feature self inclusion limits and promote responsible gaming practices, but the social sector does not have this in place, and it is something that perhaps needs to be looked at a bit more closely.