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Gambling and gaming converging, SCU-led study finds


Anne-Louise Brown
21 December 2015

A new study led by Southern Cross University researcher Dr Sally Gainsbury has found gambling and gaming are converging, with gambling products increasingly incorporating gaming themes and elements.

The study commissioned by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation examined the convergence between gambling and gaming and its implications for young people.

It explored the extent to which young people are exposed to gambling-themed content in games, how this influences their gambling behaviour, how gambling-themed games are promoted to young people and what impact this might have on them.

Dr Gainsbury and her team reviewed academic literature on gambling and gaming and developed a typology of how the two overlap. They also analysed screen shots of advertising for gambling and gambling-themed games directed at young people via social media over a one-week period.

Dr Gainsbury, of the University’s Centre for Gambling Education and Research, said gambling products were increasingly incorporating gaming themes and elements, such as elements of skill.

“Playing social casino games is not uncommon among young people, with up to 23 per cent of adolescents reporting playing them in the past 12 months,” she said.

“While for some young people, playing social casino games may increase their gambling, through normalisation or inflated confidence of winning, for others the games act as a substitute, reducing their interest in actual gambling.

“Advertising collected during the project glamorised and normalised gambling and encouraged play. Some advertising suggested it was possible to learn how to gamble using social casino games. Some also promoted their product as compulsive or addictive.”

The report recommends promoting industry standards and self-regulation, given there are difficulties with enforcing mandatory rules on international providers; applying policies and restrictions to social casino games similar to those applied to online gambling; and prohibiting links to advertisements for gambling products on social casino games.

The report also recommends educating the community about the issue, particularly parents, young people and teachers.
Photo: Dr Sally Gainsbury