Gaming-gambling convergence: Research, regulation, and reactions [article available via ResearchGate]

Introduction: The convergence of gaming and gambling has been the subject of research, debate, and regulatory consideration over the past ten years as technological advances and consumer preferences are changing the nature in which both activities are offered. Gambling activities are increasingly incorporating gaming features that focus on skill, social interaction, progress, achievement, and competition. Conversely, games have integrated gambling themes and aspects of gambling including randomly-determined outcomes and rewards, including those that require a payment, and increased monetization of in-game items through legitimate and illegitimate marketplaces. The motives for both are related to recognition of the broad appeal of both gaming and gambling, the commercial potential of the activities, and an effort to appeal to a broad demographic, including young adults given the aging player base of traditional gambling activities. The limited factual understanding of the impact of incorporating gambling themes and mechanics into popular games and vice versa has not stopped sensationalist headlines and alarmist reactions that are not evidence-based. Access full article

Reference: Gainsbury, S.M. (2019). Gaming-gambling convergence: Research, regulation, and reactions. Gaming Law Review. https://doi.org/10.1089/glr2.2019.2323

Advertisements

Why do young adults gamble online? A qualitative study of motivations to transition from social casino games to online gambling (full text)

By Kim, H. S., Wohl, M. J. A., Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L.

Abstract: The present research examined the mechanisms of initiating online gambling among young adults. Of particular interest was whether social casino gaming was noted as part of young adults’ experience with online gambling. This is because there is growing concern that social casino gaming may be a “gateway” to online gambling. Three focus groups (N = 21) were conducted with young adult online gamblers from two large Canadian Universities. Participants noted the role of peer influence as well as incentives (e.g., sign up bonuses) as important factors that motivated them to start engaging in online gambling. Participants also noted a link between social casino games and online gambling. Specifically, several young adults reported migrating to online gambling within a relatively short period after engaging with social casino games. Potential mechanisms that may lead to the migration from social casino games to online gambling included the role of advertisements and the inflated pay out rates on these free to play gambling like games. The results suggest initiatives to prevent the development of disordered gambling should understand the potential of social casino gaming to act as a gateway to online gambling, especially amongst this vulnerable population.

Kim, H. S., Wohl, M. J. A., Gupta, R., & Derevensky, J. L. (2017). Why do young adults gamble online? A qualitative study of motivations to transition from social casino games to online gambling. Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40405-017-0025-4

 

The cost of virtual wins: An examination of gambling-related risks in youth who spend money on social casino games (full text)

Methods An online survey was administered to 555 adolescents, including 130 SCG players (78 non-paying and 52 paying users).

Who Spends Money to Play for Free? Identifying Who Makes Micro-transactions on Social Casino Games (and Why)

Kim, H. S., Hollingshead, S., & Wohl, M. J. A. (2016). Who Spends Money to Play for Free? Identifying Who Makes Micro-transactions on Social Casino Games (and Why). Journal of Gambling Studies, 1–14. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10899-016-9626-6
Social casino games are online gambling-like games found on social networking sites. They are initially free to play, however, players are encouraged to make micro-transactions (i.e., in-game purchases) for additional game credits or functionality. As a result, they generate billions of dollars in revenue. Yet, little is known as to who purchases virtual credits, let alone why. In the present research, we assessed whether there are individual differences (impulsivity, reward sensitivity, competitiveness, and problem gambling severity) between who is and who is not likely to make micro-transactions during social casino game play. Moreover, we examined possible motivations for making micro-transactions (e.g., extend play, win back lost credits) and whether the individual difference variables of interest predict reported motivation(s) for making micro-transactions. Results showed that social casino gamers who engaged in micro-transactions reported significantly higher levels of impulsivity, reward sensitivity and problem gambling severity, but not competitiveness. In terms of motivation to make micro-transactions, desire to extend play was endorsed most frequently, followed by a desire to access additional features, chasing lost credits, and to speed up play. Lastly, among participants who made micro-transactions, reward sensitivity predicted making micro-transactions to chase lost credits. These results suggest the personality make-up of social casino gamers is important to understand who is likely to make micro-transactions as well as their motivation to do so—information that could prove useful for regulation of the industry.

Who Pays to Play Freemium Games? The Profiles and Motivations of Players Who Make Purchases Within Social Casino Games

Virtual addictions: An examination of problematic social casino game use among at-risk gamblers

The overlap of gaming and gambling activities within online digital technologies is of growing relevance to the study of technological addictions. Social casino games are immensely popular ‘free to play’ games that offer realistic emulation of financial gambling activities. Their structural similarities might suggest that engagement in social casino games may be particularly risky for people with existing gambling problems. Currently it is not known whether social casino games are used problematically by individuals who also experience problematic gambling, the extent of this overlap, the characteristics of those who experience problems with both activities, and the symptoms of problematic social casino game use they experience. An online survey was administered to Internet users (N = 1554) to assess social casino game use and associated problems. This study examined a subsample of 176 adults who played social casino games and reported self-identified gambling problems. The results indicated that a greater frequency and diversity of social casino game playing and more frequent and larger expenditure on social casino games was significantly positively associated with symptom severity of problematic social casino game use…

Source: Gainsbury, S. M., King, D. L., Russell, A. M. T., Delfabbro, P., & Hing, N. (n.d.). Virtual addictions: An examination of problematic social casino game use among at-risk gamblers. Addictive Behaviors. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.12.007