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      From the mouths of social media users: A focus group study exploring the social casino gaming–online gambling link


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          Background and aims

          The potential link between social casino gaming and online gambling has raised considerable concerns among clinicians, researchers and policy makers. Unfortunately, however, there is a paucity of research examining this potential link, especially among young adults. This represents a significant gap given young adults are frequently exposed to and are players of social casino games.


          To better understand the potential link between social casino games and online gambling, we conducted three focus groups ( N = 30) at two large Canadian Universities with college students who were avid social media users (who are regularly exposed to social casino games).


          Many participants spontaneously mentioned that social casino games were a great opportunity to build gambling skills before playing for real money. Importantly, some participants expressed a belief that there is a direct progression from social casino gaming to online gambling. Conversely, others believed the transition to online gambling depended on a person’s personality, rather than mere exposure to social casino games. While many young adults in our focus groups felt immune to the effects of social casino games, there was a general consensus that social casino games may facilitate the transition to online gambling among younger teenagers (i.e., 12–14 yr olds), due to the ease of accessibility and early exposure.


          The results of the present research point to the need for more study on the effects of social casino gambling as well as a discussion concerning regulation of social casino games in order to minimize their potential risks.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Acquisition, development, and maintenance of online poker playing in a student sample.

          To date there has been very little empirical research into Internet gambling and none relating to the recent rise in popularity of online poker. Given that recent reports have claimed that students may be a vulnerable group, the aim of the current study was to establish basic information regarding Internet poker playing behavior among the student population, including various motivators for participation and predictors of problematic play. The study examined a self-selected sample of student online poker players using an online survey (n=422). Results showed that online poker playing was undertaken at least twice per week by a third of the participants. Almost one in five of the sample (18%) was defined as a problem gambler using the DSM-IV criteria. Findings demonstrated that problem gambling in this population was best predicted by negative mood states after playing, gender swapping whilst playing, and playing to escape from problems.
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            Internet Gambling Behavior in a Sample of Online Gamblers

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              Correlates of at-risk/problem internet gambling in adolescents.

              The Internet represents a new and widely available forum for gambling. However, relatively few studies have examined Internet gambling in adolescents. This study sought to investigate the correlates of at-risk or problem gambling in adolescents acknowledging or denying gambling on the Internet. Survey data from 2,006 Connecticut high school student gamblers were analyzed using χ(2) and logistic regression analyses. At-risk/problem gambling was found more frequently in adolescent Internet gamblers than in non-Internet gamblers. Compared with at-risk/problem gambling in the non-Internet gambling group, at-risk/problem gambling in the Internet gambling group was more strongly associated with poor academic performance and substance use (particularly current heavy alcohol use; odds ratio 2.99; p = .03) and less strongly associated with gambling with friends (odds ratio 0.32; p = .0003). At-risk/problem gambling in the Internet and non-Internet gambling groups, respectively, was associated at p < .05, each with multiple adverse measurements including dysphoria/depression (odds ratios 1.76 and 1.96), getting into serious fights (odds ratios 2.50 and 1.93), carrying weapons (odds ratios 2.11 and 1.90), and use of tobacco (odds ratios 2.05 and 1.88 for regular use), marijuana (odds ratios 2.02 and 1.39), and other drugs (odds ratios 3.24 and 1.67). Clinically, it is important to assess for teenagers' involvement in Internet gambling, particularly because adolescent at-risk/problem Internet gambling appears specifically associated with non-peer involvement, heavy alcohol use, and poor academic functioning. Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                01 March 2016
                March 2016
                : 5
                : 1
                : 115-121
                [1 ] University of Calgary , Calgary, Alberta, Canada
                [2 ] Carleton University , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
                [3 ] McGill University , Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Dr. Michael J. A. Wohl; Department of Psychology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, B550 Loeb Building, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6; E-mail: michael_wohl@ 123456carleton.ca
                © 2016 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 25, Pages: 22
                Funding sources: This research was funded by a grant from the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (#3400).
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