The South Australian provincial government has made a move against social casino gaming, publishing a watch list that includes titles like Big Fish Casino in an attempt to assist parents in preventing their children from being exposed to gambling at an early age.
The list currently has 64 entries and ranks games under red or yellow classifications depending on how much potential there is to encourage youthful gambling. Many of the games are available as free downloads for mobile and tablet devices.
“Simulated casino-style gambling” games are in the red (high potential) category, with casino-like audio visual elements encouraging players to risk something of value in order to win prizes; the list includes Bingo Blitz, Big Fish Casino, Dice Poker 3D, Jackpot Slots, 8-Ball Pool and Slots Romance.
Yellow-rated games are those that allow players to win bonuses through chance or to build or visit virtual casinos, with Bingo Bash, the Solitaire card game, a Coin Dozer arcade game and Megapolis, a city-building game included in this category.
The list enables parents to search by child age range or on titles, and will be developed further, according to government officials.
South Australia’s Attorney General John Rau said the project “allows parents to make educated choices about the appropriateness of certain games by providing an easy and clear rating system”.
He added that the AG’s office was working with federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan on new classifications for this type of game, and revealed that the new system assigns ratings based on answers to an online questionnaire given to game developers to complete in describing the content of their products.
The project is on trial at present with a completion date of end June, at which time a report on its efficacy will be circulated to the federal and other provincial governments.
A Pokies Anonymous spokesperson told the publication The Advertiser that social casino games present the risk of ‘normalising’ gambling for young people, and suggested that many parents are unaware of the potential risk they represent for children exposed at an early age.
“What they’re doing is normalising gambling and instilling a seed in children for the future,” she said.
The Advertiser reports that a study by Adelaide University in late 2013 showed that teenagers who use gambling-style games on phones and other devices are up to three times more likely to engage in real gambling.
The survey embraced more than 1,200 children aged 12 to 17 and found that a third had tried one or more types of simulated gambling online.
Separate research, prepared for the South Australian government, found half of problem gamblers began gambling in their teens.
The games watch list is administered by the Australian Council on Children and the Media, and can be accessed here: