Concerns That Social Casino Gaming Is The Thin Edge Of The Wedge

CNet article discusses the dangers of "normalizing gambling behavior."

The respected publication CNet has published an article discussing the possibility that social casino games "normalize" gambling behaviour and set the scene for later problems for addictive personalities.
The article points to the increased accessibility of websites, especially by younger generations who extensively use their mobile devices for leisure activity
CNet notes that the global audience for casino apps on smartphones reached an average of 145 million monthly active users between July 2014 and June 2015 (excluding Asia, which has not been recorded and makes up a quarter of the global market), quoting SuperData Research, whilst Australian problem gambling academic researcher Sally Gainsbury from the Southern Cross University estimates the games will draw 269 million people worldwide by 2016.
"This past July, social casino games regularly made up a quarter of the top 20 highest-grossing apps in the Google Play Store, according to App Annie, a market analytics company. Apple's App Store showed similar statistics for the month, with social casino apps consistently nabbing three spots in the top 20. Both Slotomania: Free Casino Slots and Big Fish Casino: Free Slots consistently ranked in the top 10 in both stores," Cnet reports.
"Though the games can be played for free, revenues from purchases of in-game extras reel in millions for the biggest publishers. Zynga's total adjusted sales from social casino games were estimated at $80.1 million during the first quarter of 2015, and Caesars Interactive, whose key social casino titles include Slotomania and Caesars Casino, reported gross revenues of $167.6 million, according to Eilers Research.
"The global social casino game market rose to $809.6 million during the first quarter of 2015, a bump of 7 percent over the same time a year ago, again according to Eilers Research. Revenues from mobiles accounted for 61 percent of the total market during the quarter, compared with 50 percent in the prior year period.
"The global market for social casino games is expected to bring in $3.2 billion by the end of 2015, with North America making up nearly half the market, according to SuperData."
One suggestion to ameliorate the dangers is to move social casino apps to a separate section of app stores, so it's less likely that a vulnerable player will find them just by swiping through their home page.
http://www.cnet.com/news/the-hidden-cost-of-free-to-play-gambling-apps/

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