SOCIAL GAMBLING UNDER THE MICROSCOPE IN AUSTRALIA
13th January, 2013 at 00:34:58
Slotomania used as an example of potentially harmful gaming
Caesars Interactive Entertainment subsidiary Playtika's social gaming slot Slotomania was under attack in the Australian newspaper WA Today over the weekend amid activist fears that this sort of youthful exposure to a game closely related to gambling could result in a future increase in problem gamblers.
Playtika's terms say the game is intended for people over 21, but if players are between 13 and 18, they should get parental consent.
Slotomania is apparently the highest grossing smartphone and tablet app in Australia, and is easily accessible to children and teenagers on Facebook. Two other slots games were in the top 20 free downloads at the iTunes store.
The game does not fit with legal definitions of gambling because players cannot win and walk away with real money, although they can buy virtual credits with real money.
Monash University public health expert, Charles Livingstone, told WA Today that youthful exposure is a risk factor for the development of gambling problems.
''The possibility that young people can gain access to parental or other credit cards or payment systems extends the risk of harm significantly,'' he said.
Anti-pokies campaigners including Senator Nick Xenophon, Tim Costello and the Greens' Richard Di Natale are worried the apps put young people at future risk, and Senator Xenophon is planning to introduce a private member's bill to close the ''loophole'' that sees the games not classified as gambling.
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