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Analysis to address Hp2 found that the most commonly reported reason for gambling as a result of playing SCGs was to win real money (Table 5). Responses indicated that SCGs were used by some users to gamble without risking any money and to develop their gambling skills, but that a subset thought that they were likely to win money if they gambled and that this would be more fun and exciting than playing SCGs.

The principal research question in this study was twofold. The first was to examine whether social casino games influenced users directly to gamble or whether social casino games increase gambling; the second was to investigate the demographic  lsm99 and playing patterns that characterised these affected social casino game users. Our first hypothesis was supported as less than one-in-ten of all social casino game users surveyed reported that their gambling had increased due to their social casino game play and only one-fifth of social casino game users reported that they had gambled directly as a result of these games. This may include users who had not previously gambled, as well as existing gamblers for whom the games triggered engagement in discrete or ongoing gambling sessions. Among the subset of social casino game users who had also gambled on the same type of activity, the majority reported having gambled first, which indicates that gambling can also lead to gaming. Nonetheless, two-fifths of those who gambled and played social casino games of the same type reported that they had played social casino games first, suggesting that these games may act as a gateway to gambling within specific activities for a subset of users.

Those who reported gambling as a result of social casino games have similar demographic characteristics as Internet gamblers (Gainsbury, Russell, Hing, Wood, Lubman, & Blaszczynski, 2015), indicating a potential cross-over in markets of online gamblers and social casino game users. This is consistent with previous research (Gainsbury, Russell, et al., 2014). Those who stated that social casino games had increased their gambling were similar to those who reported gambling as a direct result of social casino games. However, these groups did not exactly overlap as a proportion of social casino game users reported that these games had influenced them to gamble more, but reported that they had not gambled directly as a result of social casino games. The results suggest that for this subset of gamers, simulated gambling stimuli may act as a cue and trigger for gambling indirectly. We cannot assess the extent of ‘new’ migrants to gambling, as compared to those with a history of previous gambling as all questions were about the past 12 months. Nonetheless, the results suggest that for some gamblers, social casino games increase gambling participation, suggesting that their experience with games affects their perceptions of and attraction to gambling.