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The Next Horizon:
Social casino games & gambling
Sally Gainsbury
Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University
New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference
January 29, 2014
Background
Two studies commissioned by Gambling Research Australia
Interactive gambling in Australia (2010-2013)
Prof. Nerilee Hing, Dr. Sally Gainsbury, Prof. Alex Blaszczynski, Dr. Robert Wood,
Prof. Daniel Lubman, Alex Russell

The use of social media in gambling (2013-2015)
Dr. Sally Gainsbury, Prof. Nerilee Hing , Prof. Paul Delfabbro, Dr. Daniel King,
Prof. Alex Blaszczynski, Alex Russell, Prof. Jeffrey Derevensky
Why do we need research?
Aims of research
Identify & understand emerging trends
Enable proactive responses to minimise harms
Requires cooperative stakeholder engagement
Why social casino games?
Gambling and gaming should be fun
 But some people have problems
Problem gambling is influenced by:
• Early exposure
• Attitudes
• Irrational beliefs
 Social casino games may play a role in problems
 Social casino games may be helpful
Technology has changed the entertainment
industry

1.0
Movies

2.0

3.0
Technology has changed the entertainment
industry

1.0
Games

2.0

3.0
Gambling has stayed mostly the same, but
access has changed

1.0

Gambling

2.0

3.0
The prevalence of gambling themes

Gambling themes in entertainment are not new,
but the access of social casino games is unprecedented
An easy step to online gambling?
Social casino games
Social casino games:
• Predominately gambling-themed
• Online through web or mobile (app)
• Connected to social media platform
Variety of social casino games
Often closely resemble online gambling
All forms – not just traditional ‘casino’
Social casino games encourage
connectivity
Social casino games are free to
play, no real prizes
But have their own currency
Social casino games are not gambling
1. No payment required – consideration
2. No monetary rewards – prize
3. Outcomes may not be randomly determined – chance

Pick the gambling site
Social casino games are growing
180 million active monthly social casino gamers
Simulated gambling: Rated T for teens
Entertainment Software Ratings Board
666 games including gambling content
rated suitable for teen or below
- 327 suitable for everyone
December 2013
Entertainment Software Ratings Board
666 games including gambling content
rated suitable for teen or below
- 327 suitable for everyone
December 2013
Social casino games: Some concerns
•
•
•
•

Inflated payouts may misrepresent gambling
Games may increase positive impression and desire to gamble
May not be clearly distinguished as games
Operators may attempt to convert players to gambling

Industry self-regulation
Social casino games: Some potential?
• Games could teach responsible gambling
• Games could reduce desire to gamble
• Games could help people avoid gambling
Social casino gamers also gamble
Survey of 1,103 US social casino game players
• 68% interested in gambling
• 67% would gamble online
• 36% visited casinos
SuperData, 2013

?
Youth surveys show correlation between
playing gambling-themed games, gambling,
and gambling problems
Will gamers gamble?
Approximately 2% of social casino gamers pay to play

“the psychographic needs that social gaming provides versus realmoney gaming are completely different.”
Paul Thelen, CEO
Do gamblers also use Big Fish Games

social games?
Investigation of social casino games
amongst gamblers
Sally Gainsburya,b, Nerilee Hinga, Alex Russella,b, Alex
Blaszczynskia,b, Rob Wood D, Dan Lubmanc
aCentre

for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University
b School of Psychology, University of Sydney
c Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Eastern Health and Monash University
D Department of Sociology, University of Lethbridge

This study was commissioned by Gambling Research Australia – a
partnership between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments
The findings presented here are preliminary and not final
Investigation of social casino games
amongst gamblers
Nationally representative telephone survey (N=15,006)
2,010 adult gamblers
Nov-Dec 2011, Australia
Aim: To investigate the use of social casino games in a sample of
Internet and land-based gamblers
Which gamblers play social casino
games?
13% had played social casino games
Social casino gamers more likely to be:
- born in Australia
- younger
65 or older

55-59

Non-social casino
45-49
gamers
35-39
Social casino gamers
25-29
18-19
0

10

20
%

30

40
How do social casino gamers gamble?
Social casino gamers more likely to:
• gamble online (25% vs. 5%)
• Gamble on all forms (except lottery)
• Gamble on the same activities they play as games
% of social gamers who also gamble on the same activity
Gaming machines
Sports betting
Horse or dog race wagering
Instant scratch tickets
Bingo
Casino table games
Poker
Keno
0

10

20

30

40
%

50

60

70

80
Which social casino games do
gamblers play?

• Poker
• Slots
• Casino

Gaming machines
Casino table games
Poker
Keno
Female
Bingo
Male
Horse or dog race…
Sports betting
Instant scratch tickets
0

20

40

60

80

100
Do social casino gamers have gambling
problems?
Problem gamblers
Moderate risk
gamblers

Social casino
gamers
Non-social casino
gamers

Low risk gamblers
Non-problem
gamblers

0

50

100

Problem Gambling Severity Index (N = 1,768)
Is social casino game play related to
gambling?
• Gender game preferences similar
• Substantial overlap between preferred gambling & social casino
game activities
• Social casino gamers more similar to Internet gamblers
• Social casino gamers more involved gamblers & more likely to
experience problems
But no causal inferences can be drawn
Further understanding of gamblers &
gamers needed Why play for
Why pay
when I can
play for free?

free when I
can win real
money?
Impact of social casino games on
problems may varyWhy play for
Why pay
when I can
play for free?

free when I
can win real
money?
Conclusions
• Some gamblers also play social casino games (mostly Internet
gamblers)
• Convergence between social casino games & gambling likely to
continue
• Regulatory interest will continue – self-regulation preferred
pathway
• Problem gamblers may use social casino games in helpful &
unhelpful ways:
– Clinicians need to understand
– Operators need to implement consumer protection measures
– Regulators need to understand impacts
Acknowledgments
Collaborators: Nerilee Hing, Alex Russell, Alex
Blaszczynski, Dan Lubman, Robert Wood
Research commissioned by Gambling Research
Australia
The views expressed in this presentation are solely those of
the author. The information, views and references material
in this presentation are provided solely on the basis that
the audience will be responsible for making their own
assessment of the information provided
Further details
Gainsbury, S, Russell, A., & Hing, N. (In Press). When the chips are
free: An investigation of social casino gaming among gamblers.
Computers in Human Behavior. Accepted Jan 14, 2014
Gainsbury, S., Hing, N., Delfabbro, P., King, D. (2014). A taxonomy of
gambling and casino games via social media and online
technologies. Submitted manuscript.
The full Interactive Gambling in Australia research report will be
released by GRA in 2014
Thank you, questions?
Dr Sally Gainsbury
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Gambling Education & Research,
Southern Cross University

Email: sally.gainsbury@scu.edu.au
Website: http://works.bepress.com/sally_gainsbury/
@DrSalGainsbury
Sally Gainsbury and Keith Whyte. The Next Horizon: Social Casino Games and Responsible Gaming

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Sally Gainsbury and Keith Whyte. The Next Horizon: Social Casino Games and Responsible Gaming

  • 1. The Next Horizon: Social casino games & gambling Sally Gainsbury Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University New Horizons in Responsible Gambling Conference January 29, 2014
  • 2. Background Two studies commissioned by Gambling Research Australia Interactive gambling in Australia (2010-2013) Prof. Nerilee Hing, Dr. Sally Gainsbury, Prof. Alex Blaszczynski, Dr. Robert Wood, Prof. Daniel Lubman, Alex Russell The use of social media in gambling (2013-2015) Dr. Sally Gainsbury, Prof. Nerilee Hing , Prof. Paul Delfabbro, Dr. Daniel King, Prof. Alex Blaszczynski, Alex Russell, Prof. Jeffrey Derevensky
  • 3. Why do we need research? Aims of research Identify & understand emerging trends Enable proactive responses to minimise harms Requires cooperative stakeholder engagement
  • 4. Why social casino games? Gambling and gaming should be fun  But some people have problems Problem gambling is influenced by: • Early exposure • Attitudes • Irrational beliefs  Social casino games may play a role in problems  Social casino games may be helpful
  • 5. Technology has changed the entertainment industry 1.0 Movies 2.0 3.0
  • 6. Technology has changed the entertainment industry 1.0 Games 2.0 3.0
  • 7. Gambling has stayed mostly the same, but access has changed 1.0 Gambling 2.0 3.0
  • 8. The prevalence of gambling themes Gambling themes in entertainment are not new, but the access of social casino games is unprecedented An easy step to online gambling?
  • 9. Social casino games Social casino games: • Predominately gambling-themed • Online through web or mobile (app) • Connected to social media platform
  • 10. Variety of social casino games Often closely resemble online gambling All forms – not just traditional ‘casino’
  • 11. Social casino games encourage connectivity
  • 12. Social casino games are free to play, no real prizes But have their own currency
  • 13. Social casino games are not gambling 1. No payment required – consideration 2. No monetary rewards – prize 3. Outcomes may not be randomly determined – chance Pick the gambling site
  • 14. Social casino games are growing 180 million active monthly social casino gamers
  • 15. Simulated gambling: Rated T for teens Entertainment Software Ratings Board 666 games including gambling content rated suitable for teen or below - 327 suitable for everyone December 2013
  • 16. Entertainment Software Ratings Board 666 games including gambling content rated suitable for teen or below - 327 suitable for everyone December 2013
  • 17. Social casino games: Some concerns • • • • Inflated payouts may misrepresent gambling Games may increase positive impression and desire to gamble May not be clearly distinguished as games Operators may attempt to convert players to gambling Industry self-regulation
  • 18. Social casino games: Some potential? • Games could teach responsible gambling • Games could reduce desire to gamble • Games could help people avoid gambling
  • 19. Social casino gamers also gamble Survey of 1,103 US social casino game players • 68% interested in gambling • 67% would gamble online • 36% visited casinos SuperData, 2013 ? Youth surveys show correlation between playing gambling-themed games, gambling, and gambling problems
  • 20. Will gamers gamble? Approximately 2% of social casino gamers pay to play “the psychographic needs that social gaming provides versus realmoney gaming are completely different.” Paul Thelen, CEO Do gamblers also use Big Fish Games social games?
  • 21. Investigation of social casino games amongst gamblers Sally Gainsburya,b, Nerilee Hinga, Alex Russella,b, Alex Blaszczynskia,b, Rob Wood D, Dan Lubmanc aCentre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University b School of Psychology, University of Sydney c Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Eastern Health and Monash University D Department of Sociology, University of Lethbridge This study was commissioned by Gambling Research Australia – a partnership between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments The findings presented here are preliminary and not final
  • 22. Investigation of social casino games amongst gamblers Nationally representative telephone survey (N=15,006) 2,010 adult gamblers Nov-Dec 2011, Australia Aim: To investigate the use of social casino games in a sample of Internet and land-based gamblers
  • 23. Which gamblers play social casino games? 13% had played social casino games Social casino gamers more likely to be: - born in Australia - younger 65 or older 55-59 Non-social casino 45-49 gamers 35-39 Social casino gamers 25-29 18-19 0 10 20 % 30 40
  • 24. How do social casino gamers gamble? Social casino gamers more likely to: • gamble online (25% vs. 5%) • Gamble on all forms (except lottery) • Gamble on the same activities they play as games % of social gamers who also gamble on the same activity Gaming machines Sports betting Horse or dog race wagering Instant scratch tickets Bingo Casino table games Poker Keno 0 10 20 30 40 % 50 60 70 80
  • 25. Which social casino games do gamblers play? • Poker • Slots • Casino Gaming machines Casino table games Poker Keno Female Bingo Male Horse or dog race… Sports betting Instant scratch tickets 0 20 40 60 80 100
  • 26. Do social casino gamers have gambling problems? Problem gamblers Moderate risk gamblers Social casino gamers Non-social casino gamers Low risk gamblers Non-problem gamblers 0 50 100 Problem Gambling Severity Index (N = 1,768)
  • 27. Is social casino game play related to gambling? • Gender game preferences similar • Substantial overlap between preferred gambling & social casino game activities • Social casino gamers more similar to Internet gamblers • Social casino gamers more involved gamblers & more likely to experience problems But no causal inferences can be drawn
  • 28. Further understanding of gamblers & gamers needed Why play for Why pay when I can play for free? free when I can win real money?
  • 29. Impact of social casino games on problems may varyWhy play for Why pay when I can play for free? free when I can win real money?
  • 30. Conclusions • Some gamblers also play social casino games (mostly Internet gamblers) • Convergence between social casino games & gambling likely to continue • Regulatory interest will continue – self-regulation preferred pathway • Problem gamblers may use social casino games in helpful & unhelpful ways: – Clinicians need to understand – Operators need to implement consumer protection measures – Regulators need to understand impacts
  • 31. Acknowledgments Collaborators: Nerilee Hing, Alex Russell, Alex Blaszczynski, Dan Lubman, Robert Wood Research commissioned by Gambling Research Australia The views expressed in this presentation are solely those of the author. The information, views and references material in this presentation are provided solely on the basis that the audience will be responsible for making their own assessment of the information provided
  • 32. Further details Gainsbury, S, Russell, A., & Hing, N. (In Press). When the chips are free: An investigation of social casino gaming among gamblers. Computers in Human Behavior. Accepted Jan 14, 2014 Gainsbury, S., Hing, N., Delfabbro, P., King, D. (2014). A taxonomy of gambling and casino games via social media and online technologies. Submitted manuscript. The full Interactive Gambling in Australia research report will be released by GRA in 2014
  • 33. Thank you, questions? Dr Sally Gainsbury Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Gambling Education & Research, Southern Cross University Email: sally.gainsbury@scu.edu.au Website: http://works.bepress.com/sally_gainsbury/ @DrSalGainsbury