According to certain experts on the gambling industry, children that play online games like Candy Crush Saga, role-playing games, or virtual poker could grow up to become serious gamblers. The game or application has been downloaded a shocking 500 million times. The developers of Candy Crush say that it is targeted for women between the ages of 35 and 50. Though it is actually possible to participate in-game play for free, more than 40% of players do in fact pay for extras. To them the extra incentives feel a lot like winning money.
The director of the International Gaming Research Unit stated that there has been an overlap when it comes to online games which allow players to spend money on virtual accessories or to gain access to higher levels. According to the director *Mark Griffiths, these online applications and games that feature virtual money can potentially lead kids to gambling. The combination of the game’s simplicity along with its addictive qualities leads to a more complicated long-term outcome if you ask Griffiths.
In a report that was published with the Education and Health journal, he also noted that there seems to be an immense similarity between social gamers and individuals who play the slots. He believes that despite our initial perspective on these social networking games, the psychology behind the extracurricular activities is quite alike. Though developers of the game do not release financial details, it is estimated that the game brings in over six million users each day and generates daily revenue of almost $946,788.
Of course, now this means war on gaming all over again. Parents have already established their stance on violence in games. However, now they are looking to the school systems to educate children about gambling games. Professor Mark Griffiths says that there are large numbers of youths under the age of 16 that are becoming severely addicted to games like Candy Crush via social media. Griffith has stated that although most sites provide free introductory sessions, these typically lead to cash gambling games that have no age restrictions.
Basically, this is more than an implication. Griffiths has blatantly released into the atmosphere his opinions that free versions of poker and gambling sites are somehow morphing children into gambling addicts. He seems to equate this with addictive drugs. The games introduce young people to excitement and rewards that accompany gambling despite not playing with real money according to the professor. He has even stated that it is like the “old drug dealing analogy” of giving something for free in order to hook in a consumer.
This, in most circles, is utterly ludicrous given that kids today are much more intelligent that most would choose to believe. However, the crusade for gambling education within the school systems in the United Kingdom will rage on. Perhaps the U.S. should think about integrating these cautionary tales into their curriculum. One solution of course is to *teach our children about addictive gambling in school. Though, maybe it is possible that some attentive parenting would better serve the tax bracket in both the U.S. and the U.K.
SHEU – Education and Health Journal:
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