Social gaming is the new big trend in the gaming universe. It allows players to access a wide range of games using their Facebook accounts, so they can compete with friends and share their progress on their profile. It is an exciting movement for the gaming market, but some are concerned that children will be harmed by social gaming in the long run.
Over the course of the past few years, Facebook has allowed the introduction of gambling-based social games. DoubleDown Casino and Zynga Poker are among the most popular social games, seeing millions of users every month. Many of those users are youth under the age of 19 (Canada’s legal gambling age), so the apps expose children to the activity much earlier than they should be.
Recently, the BCLC launched a campaign discourage parents from buying their children scratchcards. When children are exposed to gambling at a young age, it is likely that it will have detrimental effects on their gambling habits in the future. Things get even worse if they win on gifted scratchcards, as it fosters unrealistic perceptions of the gambling market.
The same rules apply in the social gaming market. Players are not using real money to gamble; so, they can be as frivolous as they wish. In some cases, the application reloads the player’s money every day. While adults know this not how gambling works in the real world, underage individuals may not be able to make the distinction.
So, many responsible gambling groups have come forward, requesting that social gaming be regulated. However, social gaming operators are not on board with the idea. They believe that it is outside of the jurisdiction of gambling regulators since real money is not involved. The debate is sure to get heated, but one thing is for sure – the situation highlights the need for parents to take a closer look at what their children are doing online. Whether it means enacting parental controls or simply opening up an honest dialogue with their children, it is important for parents to make sure that their children are not taking part in online activities that are meant for adults.