Slotomania, encouraging kids to gamble?

Slotomania, encouraging kids to gamble?

Slotomania, a gaming app for Facebook, is on its way to failure due to an increasing number of Australian teenagers engaged in playing and the game’s similarities to online video slots. Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon, is set to introduce a bill to the Australian Federal Parliament to ban games that encourage underage gambling.

The game was developed by Playtika, a subsidiary of Cesars Interactive Ent., and came to be one of the most grossing apps in the world. In Australia it became the most downloaded app in recent months. The game only allows players over 21 years of age; however, youngsters can enable the app as long as they can “get parental consent”.

Unlike betting games, where players can earn and withdraw money, Slotomania only allows players to purchase coins and virtual credits in order to continue playing. The price for in-game coins is around $2 to $21. The issue became apparent when parents found their 13-year-old sons and daughters spending large amounts of money playing the game.

In an attempt to reinforce the allegations made against Slotomania, a reporter from the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph created a fake account of a 13-year-old girl and received access to the game.

Australia has become one of the meccas for online gambling, and as a result also a country where 2.1% of the population suffers from a gambling addiction. Hence, the increased need to regulate this activity, especially among teenagers.

Senators Tim Costello and Richard Di Natale have also joined Xenophon in pushing the Parliament to put a ban on gambling apps and developing a bill to control any social games that may resemble real-money games, especially those that don’t strictly forbid underage players.