There’s a big difference between social gaming and gambling. One is conducted on a mobile device and costs nothing to play (although in-app purchases are always available), and the other requires a person to wager real money on the outcome of a game. Based on the results of a 2014 study, officials in Australia now fear that social gaming will lead to an increase in real money gambling.
The research study was conducted over the internet last year by Southern Cross University. Between April and May 2014, a total of 1,554 individuals took part in a survey wherein they were asked to respond to questions revolving around social gaming and real money gambling, both live and over the internet.
One of the key purposes of the study was to see how Australians felt about the possibility of online casinos being legalized in the region, and how it might affect their gameplay at live casinos, as well as participation on social gaming apps.
Online casinos are not currently legal in Australia. Residents can play without recourse at offshore gaming sites, and Australian operators do exist, but cannot provide their services to locals.
Online Casinos vs Social Gaming
The study asked, if online casinos were to be legalized, how would it affect their social gaming experience. 64% responded that there would mobogenie app download be no effect—they would use social gaming apps the same as before. 26% said they would play less social gaming apps, while 10% said they would play more.
As for whether social gamers would be interested in transitioning to real money online gambling, 69% said they would have no interest in betting actual money. 28.4% said they would be ‘somewhat interested’, while only 2.6% said they would definitely play on real money gambling sites.
Do Social Games promote Real Money Gambling?
Taking the questions into the live gambling realm, Australian officials became concerned when it was revealed that 17% of social gamers admitted to gambling with real money more often after playing social apps.
More alarming was the age range at which players are converting from social to real money gaming. The study found that 28% of youths aged 12-17 engaged in some form of gambling after playing social casino games.
Furthermore, 33% of teenagers and 15% of adults felt that playing social casinos would make them better at gambling, thus more likely to win in a real money environment.
The study was quick to point out that there is a palpable difference between the two, and that a positive win rate at social casinos in no way guarantees the same results at a real live or online casino.
On the constructive side, only a minority of Australia’s social gamers seem to be effected by such activities, but most disturbing is the fact that more than a quarter today’s Australian youth—those who aren’t even old enough to gamble legally—are being influenced to wager real money.
Perhaps Australia would do well to consider regulating the online gambling industry. Other regions that have done so, including the UK and some US states, have proven that blocking underage players is within their technological power. However, with Australians having access to unregulated offshore websites, it’s hard to say whether age verification is being monitored as well as it should be.