Do social casino games migrate to online gambling

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To this end, the purpose of the present research was to determine whether a social casino gaming influences migration to online gambling i. Herein, we focused our attention on the following potential predictors of migration from social casino gaming to online gambling: These potential predictors of migration were chosen based on a review of the literature including grey literature presented herein, as well as, the outcome of focus groups that the authors previously conducted with social casino gamers Gupta et al.

It is understood that the potential predictors assessed in the current study are not exhaustive. Moreover, our choice of potential predictors should not be taken as a value judgment on whether variables in other domains e.

With that said, we believe the time spent on social casino games, desire to skill build, self-enhancement motivations, and engagement in micro-transactions provide a good starting point in the assessment of possible migration from social casino gaming to online gambling.

Below we provide a brief summary of why each potential predictor was chosen for assessment. One of the greatest theorized harms of social casino gaming is the normalization of gambling behaviors Griffiths ; Parke et al.

The more time a person spends playing social casino games, the more likely it is for the person to see gambling as an acceptable everyday activity and may develop positive attitudes toward gambling.

Indeed, social casino gamers were more likely than non-social casino gamblers to state that the benefits of gambling outweigh the harms Gainsbury et al.

Thus, it was hypothesized that the more time a player spends engaged in social casino gaming, the greater the likelihood of migrating to online gambling.

In a qualitative study with online gamblers and social media users, Gupta et al. That is, social casino gamers used the free sites as a training ground prior to migrating to paid sites.

This is of concern as social casino games offer higher payout rates than their gambling counterparts Sevigny et al. For example, Sevigny et al. These inflated payout rates are problematic as past research suggests that higher payout rates early on may lead to the development of problematic gambling behaviors Harrigan and Dixon where gamblers persist longer in the face of continued loss Young et al.

Moreover, King et al. Social casino games are designed to increase player experience by maximizing enjoyment and providing a sense of excitement to the social casino gamer Derevensky et al.

However, the amount of excitement one can experience when wagering nothing of monetary value may be limited. Indeed, to some gamblers, it is the element of wagering money on an uncertain outcome that provides the excitement and adrenaline rush see Wulfert et al.

Thus, social casino gamers who play social casino games for enhancement motives may need to increase their stakes in order to feel similar levels of excitement.

One avenue of doing so is to migrate from playing for fun to playing for pay. Moreover, past research has shown that much like alcohol and other psychoactive substance dependencies, gamblers are prone to developing a tolerance to their habitual gambling activities, and therefore need to increase the size or frequency of their bets to obtain the same level of excitement Derevensky ; Griffiths As such, social casino gamers may seek to migrate to gambling for real money in order to obtain the same level of excitement previously provided through social casino games.

According to Griffiths , the purchase of virtual credits or virtual items makes the activity of social casino gaming more similar to gambling.

Thus, micro-transactions may be a crucial predictor in the migration to online gambling, as these players have now crossed a line by paying to engage in these activities.

As such, social casino gamers who make in-game purchases may decide to migrate to online gambling sites where they have a chance albeit slim to either win more than their initial wager or win back their initial wager.

To assess whether social casino gaming leads some people to migrate to online gambling, a community sample of social casino gamers were recruited for a longitudinal study.

Whilst previous researchers Griffiths ; King et al. Providing further support for this contention, the mean age of social casino gamers in Gainsbury et al.

Therefore, a community sample of social casino gamers was recruited to assess the migration from social casino gaming to online gambling.

It was hypothesized that a the more time participants perceived engaging in social casino gaming, b the more a person endorsed playing for skill building and enhancement, and c whether or not a participant had made a micro-transaction would predict the migration from social casino gaming to online gambling.

Participation was limited to those who played social casino games and, importantly, who had not previously gambled online for real money.

Remuneration was based on normative rates for conducting such a study on MTurk see Mason and Suri Remuneration tends to be low because people on MTurk participate in research out of interest or to pass the time rather than for the sake of monetary compensation, making MTurk a good source of data Buhrmester et al.

Out of the initial participants, One participant was excluded from analyses because s he did not provide information to link his or her data to the initial session.

Participants who agreed to participate were provided a link to the online survey hosted by Qualtrics.

After providing consent, participants completed a series of questionnaires measuring the variables of interest and were directed to the informed consent for re-contact and the process-debriefing pages.

After obtaining informed consent, participants completed an additional series of questionnaires measuring the variables of interest and were re-directed to the final debriefing page.

During the initial session, participants completed a broad-based questionnaire about their social casino play. To assess time spent playing social casino games, participants completed a measure assessing their perceived time spent playing social casino games e.

The response was anchored from 1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree. These items were anchored at 1 strongly disagree and 7 strongly agree.

Examples of items include: Lastly, participants were asked whether or not they had paid for credits or tokens while playing social casino games. Response options to this item were 1 yes or 0 no.

In a brief 6-month follow-up session, participants responded to the following item: To ensure no difference existed between participants who completed the 6-month follow-up and those who did not on our predictor variables perceived time spent, enhancement, skill-building and micro-transactions , a one-way Analysis of Variance ANOVA was conducted between the groups.

The results suggest no differences exist between the groups on any of our predictor variables at Time 1. Of the 99 participants who completed the 6-month follow-up, 26 Furthermore, of the participants who migrated to online gambling, two 7.

To assess which factors predicted migration from social casino gaming to online gambling, a simultaneous binary logistic regression was performed with migration to online gambling as the dependent variable, and the four variables of interest as the predictor variables.

Summary of binary logistic regression for predictors of migration from social casino gaming to online gambling. Specifically, when holding the other predictors at a fixed value, the odds of migration were unchanged by perceived time playing social casino games.

Specifically, the odds of migration to online gambling were approximately eight times greater among people who made micro-transactions on social casino games compared to social casino gamers who did not make micro-transactions, controlling for the other predictors.

Although engagement in social casino games is a daily pastime for millions of people, concerns have been raised about whether they serve as a gateway to online gambling Griffiths , ; Parke et al.

Providing the first empirical support for this contention, the current study found over a quarter of social gamers migrated to online gaming.

This rate of migration is alarming considering that there are an estimated million social casino gamers worldwide Morgan Stanley Report —a target pool of potential recruits for the gambling industry.

Indeed, if the results of the current study are extrapolated to the global constituency of social casino gamers, then the gambling industry might expect a staggering million new online gamblers from the current population of social casino gamers.

Importantly, the current research also assessed potential predictors of migration from social casino gaming to online gambling. To this end, motivation to play social casino games e.

The results indicate micro-transactions were the only significant unique predictor of transition from social casino gaming to online gambling.

Moreover, the effect of micro-transaction engagement was very strong. Specifically, the odds of migration to online gambling were eight times higher among social casino gamers who purchased virtual credits compared to social casino gamers who did not purchase virtual credits.

Neither playing to build skills nor playing for self-enhancement significantly predicted the migration to online gambling.

Additionally, it is possible that some social casino gamers who play to build their skills may subsequently develop insight to the fact that, over time, the gambler is bound to lose, which may decrease their desire to gamble online.

In terms of self-enhancement motives, it is possible that because achievements on social casino games are announced to friends who are on social media, the need for self-enhancement is satisfied by the social casino game itself and thus, there is no need to engage in online gambling.

Lastly, it is possible that why people start playing social casino games is less important for migration to online gambling than what occurs whilst playing social casino games.

Indeed, the results of the current study suggest that purchasing virtual credits i. This is because purchasing virtual credits to engage in or extend play makes the activity psychologically closer to gambling than a video game.

In this way, the social gamer is primed to spend money on gambling-styled games online. Providing additional substance behind such a claim, Gupta et al.

Social casino gamers who make micro-transactions lack or have overcome such issues of trust. Once the micro-transaction boundary has been crossed, it may then be easier to do so again with other aspects of the online world.

It is also possible that social casino gamers who have engaged in micro-transactions might rationalize their migration to online gambling by thinking that money spent on online gambling where there is an opportunity to win money is better spent than on social casino games where no money can be won.

Given that there is no chance to win money at social casino games, there is more than a touch of logic to such a rationalization, despite the fact that the odds suggest gamblers will lose any money invested in gambling over time Blanche The present research has important implications for preventing the possible migration to online gambling.

Currently, there are no mandatory governmental regulations for the social casino gaming industry; rather, they have a recommended framework for best practices.

Furthermore, there are no age restrictions in practice. Though these inflated payout rates are designed to keep people playing social casino games, this may result in misperceptions about the odds and chances of winning if they migrate to online gambling.

Indeed participants in Gupta et al. Neither playing to build skills nor playing for self-enhancement significantly predicted the migration to online gambling.

Additionally, it is possible that some social casino gamers who play to build their skills may subsequently develop insight to the fact that, over time, the gambler is bound to lose, which may decrease their desire to gamble online.

In terms of self-enhancement motives, it is possible that because achievements on social casino games are announced to friends who are on social media, the need for self-enhancement is satisfied by the social casino game itself and thus, there is no need to engage in online gambling.

Lastly, it is possible that why people start playing social casino games is less important for migration to online gambling than what occurs whilst playing social casino games.

Indeed, the results of the current study suggest that purchasing virtual credits i. This is because purchasing virtual credits to engage in or extend play makes the activity psychologically closer to gambling than a video game.

In this way, the social gamer is primed to spend money on gambling-styled games online. Providing additional substance behind such a claim, Gupta et al.

Social casino gamers who make micro-transactions lack or have overcome such issues of trust. Once the micro-transaction boundary has been crossed, it may then be easier to do so again with other aspects of the online world.

It is also possible that social casino gamers who have engaged in micro-transactions might rationalize their migration to online gambling by thinking that money spent on online gambling where there is an opportunity to win money is better spent than on social casino games where no money can be won.

Given that there is no chance to win money at social casino games, there is more than a touch of logic to such a rationalization, despite the fact that the odds suggest gamblers will lose any money invested in gambling over time Blanche The present research has important implications for preventing the possible migration to online gambling.

Currently, there are no mandatory governmental regulations for the social casino gaming industry; rather, they have a recommended framework for best practices.

Furthermore, there are no age restrictions in practice. Though these inflated payout rates are designed to keep people playing social casino games, this may result in misperceptions about the odds and chances of winning if they migrate to online gambling.

Indeed participants in Gupta et al. However, up until now, there has been no empirical research demonstrating the effects of social casino gaming on future gambling behaviors.

The results of the current research provide preliminary support that social casino games should be regulated at least to some degree to provide warning signs in order to minimize the migration to online gambling.

Some limitations from the present study should be noted. While every effort was made to contact social casino gamers who agreed to participate in the follow-up study, the rate of attrition was relatively high.

As such, it is possible that those who did not complete the 6-month follow-up psychologically differed from participants who completed the follow-up study.

For example, those who did not complete the 6-month follow-up may have been more likely to migrate to online gambling and thus may have felt embarrassed, guilt or shame.

If so, there might be a greater reluctance for individuals to participate in follow-up sessions see Wohl and Sztainert Having said that, our preliminary results showed that there were no significant differences on the assessed variables at Time 1.

Thus, the findings and their generalizations lend some degree of confidence. Second, while the results of the current study support the notion that social casino gamers do in fact migrate to online gambling, the current study did not assess whether any harms were incurred due to migration to online gambling.

It was beyond the scope of this research to assess whether social casino gamers who migrated to online gambling might develop symptoms of disordered gambling.

However, a study assessing whether social casino gamers face harm due to the migration to online gambling would prove informative. Third, we note that there are likely to be other important predictors that were not assessed in the present research that may predict the migration from social casino gaming to online gambling.

While the predictors assessed in the current research were based on the literature reviewed herein, there are likely other important variables that influence the migration from social casino gaming to online gambling.

For example, dispositional characteristics such as impulsivity, sensation seeking and reward sensitivity may all play a role in the migration to online gambling.

Moreover, cognitive distortions as a result of misleading payout rates may also be an important factor that leads social casino gamers to online gambling.

Social casino games are a new phenomenon and there is a paucity of empirical research in this domain. Future research on social casino gaming would benefit from studies that assess causal pathways, potential moderators and confounders of the migration to online gambling.

Lastly, it is important to note that the CI range for the significant effect of micro-transactions on migration was rather wide 1. Thus, although a large effect was observed, the true effect might not be as large as it appears to be based on the point estimate.

This is because the CI describes the uncertainty inherent in the estimate, and describes a range of values within which we can be reasonably sure that the true effect lies.

Importantly, this range can be influenced by sample size—sample size and range are typically inversely related. With a narrow CI, the effect size is known precisely.

As the CI widens the uncertainty is greater, although there may still be enough precision to make decisions about the utility of the intervention.

In the current study, 26 of the 99 participants migrated to online gambling. As such, we did not have a great deal of statistical power to detect significant effects.

When statistical power to detect an effect is low, typically only large effects are detected as significant.

Herein, a large micro-transaction effect was observed. Moreover, the lower limit of the CI for micro-transactions did not approach 1.

In fact, the lower limit was 1. Taken together, we have a great deal of confidence in our findings. The gambling industry has continued to evolve and adapt to new forms of technology Turner The recent popularity and ubiquity of the Internet has radically changed the way people engage in gambling and gambling-related activities.

One such example is through the help of social networking sites such as Facebook to promote their sites and attract new players.

Indeed, gambling advertisements be it social casino games or online gambling sites are commonly found on Facebook.

Whilst the current study makes an important contribution to our understanding of social casino games and online gambling, more research is needed in this important area of inquiry to minimize the potential harms of social casino gaming.

Indeed, social casino games may prompt millions of people to try online gambling, which for some may result in a slippery slope towards disordered gambling.

The results raise some concerns, especially for underage youth. Policy makers, the industry and clinicians would be well advised to monitor the growth of social casino gaming closely.

As such, we included gender as a covariate in our binary logistic model. The inclusion of gender as a covariate did not change the results of our original model.

Specifically, more male National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal of Gambling Studies. Published online Nov Kim , Michael J.

Wohl , Melissa M. Salmon , Rina Gupta , and Jeffrey Derevensky. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author s and the source are credited.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Social casino games i. Introduction Social casino games i.

By the Numbers According to Gainsbury et al. Convergence of Social Casino Games and Online Gambling According to the Morgan Stanley Report , the vast population of social casino gamers represents a potential pool of online gamblers that may be recruited to increase revenues.

Migrating from Play for Fun to Play for Pay Herein, we focused our attention on the following potential predictors of migration from social casino gaming to online gambling: Time Spent One of the greatest theorized harms of social casino gaming is the normalization of gambling behaviors Griffiths ; Parke et al.

Skill Building In a qualitative study with online gamblers and social media users, Gupta et al. Enhancement Social casino games are designed to increase player experience by maximizing enjoyment and providing a sense of excitement to the social casino gamer Derevensky et al.

Micro-transactions According to Griffiths , the purchase of virtual credits or virtual items makes the activity of social casino gaming more similar to gambling.

Overview of the Current Research To assess whether social casino gaming leads some people to migrate to online gambling, a community sample of social casino gamers were recruited for a longitudinal study.

Procedure Participants who agreed to participate were provided a link to the online survey hosted by Qualtrics. Measures During the initial session, participants completed a broad-based questionnaire about their social casino play.

Results Preliminary Analysis To ensure no difference existed between participants who completed the 6-month follow-up and those who did not on our predictor variables perceived time spent, enhancement, skill-building and micro-transactions , a one-way Analysis of Variance ANOVA was conducted between the groups.

Migration to Online Gambling Migration Rate Of the 99 participants who completed the 6-month follow-up, 26 Unsuited J is not a playable hand in Let It Ride, for instance.

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