Social Gambling - Is It Right?

Social Gambling
Social Networks & Gambling

Now it will come as no surprise I suspect that I like a good gamble! Mostly I play casino games but I also like a bit of sports betting and have been since 1994.

And, as you may also have gathered, I write articles dedicated to the topic with the aim of assisting players to find somewhere safe and decent to play. In return, I receive renumeration for this (in most instances) so it works for me and I have a vested interest in seeing people gamble.

In a nutshell, gambling is my hobby and can be good, fun entertainment - when handled reponsibly!

The advent of social networks obviously brings the world together and where there are people, there will undoubtedly be commercial opportunities. As the networks go public, so their focus has to also be on making money to keep shareholders happy and their business afloat!

Social is good. It employs people, it enhances communication, it spreads knowledge and as much as anything, it can be fun.

So on the surface, we seem to have two complementary services but if I'm honest, this coming-together makes me uneasy. It's not that "social" shouldn't be commercially exploited. I'm over that initial concern - it's the way the world is. But right now, everyone around me is saying "social is the way forward" for gambling sites like AZ Online Casinos. Is it? Really? I don't think so and here's why:

Until now, my small network of gambling-oriented websites get a reasonably healthy throughput of both experienced and inexperienced players looking for somewhere good to play. And that is the key point: they are looking for gambling. They probably went to Google, typed in "online casinos" or "I want to lose all money and fast!" and ended up looking at my comparison tool. They knew what they were doing: they want to gamble and that's what they got.

Where social networks differ is that gambling apps, adverts and "influences" are put in front of people who perhaps have never gambled, never really wanted to gamble and above all, don't understand the implications of gambling. People who, for all we know, are very impressionable, perhaps even naive and many who are not suitable for passtimes that can get addictive.

Now, you can apply that to anything "fun" I guess. Apps and games, shopping, drinking...pretty much anything has the potential to be addictive if it's not enjoyable. But not everything has the same implications if it does get addictive. Gambling, like alcohol and drugs, are products that need to be explained, understood and above all done in moderation.

The lightbulb went on for me when I talked to a friend's fun-loving but slightly dipsy daughter who asked me if she could make money playing slots (just to err on the side of caution, and just in case at least one of you didn't know: the answer is a very resounding NO!). I was a bit taken aback and she explained she was playing them for free on facebook. That was when I realised just what sort of impact social networking could have on society! This is not someone I regard as a person who should be playing slot machines! Anywhere! Not just on Facebook!

It is of course an inevitability that a level of normalisation will occur, especially with alcohol and gambling. But at what point should those involved in the industries step back and draw a line on advertising? I can't speak for alcohol ("for", not "because of"!) but regards gambling, personally I think social networks are the line.

That said, I don't necessarily think that gambling and social should divorce. But I do think people on social networks should have to opt in to view apps and adverts for gambling affiliates, websites and opertors. Not "opt out". Opt in.

From a personal pont of view I will not now (knowingly!) be promoting any of my websites, online casino reviews or similar such materials related to online gambling on social networks. I will however probably use separate Facebook pages as a support arena for those already using my sites - which is something these platforms are very adept at - but if people come across those pages, it will be because they searched for them...not because I pushed it at them.
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