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One of the most recent changes in the constantly-shifting gambling climate is the introduction of social gambling sites.  This has come as a direct consequence of the rise of online gambling in general, alongside the surge in the popularity of social media networks such as Facebook.

As an increasing number of people access their Facebook accounts on a daily basis, more and more resources are being piled into the development of social games, given the massive potential of advertising revenue.  Amongst the games which have been developed, a lot allow players to get involved in forms of gambling, such as online slot games and online bingo.

There been an increasing amount of discussion and controversy regarding the effect that these social gambling games have, specifically relating to their accessibility by minors.  The main concern is that they will lead to a future generation of problem gamblers.  ‘For fun’ versions of the games, which feature many similarities to real-money gambling, can be played by children of all ages and many people are worried that playing these games familiarises children with gambling from a young age.

When children play these social games, they get rewarded for their performance with credits, coins and other rewards, which allow them to unlock advanced features.  To speed up their progression, players are able to purchase credits using their real money and this is the main concern of parents around the world.  They believe that children are becoming too used to putting their money in with the hope of getting a big reward, a concept nearly identical to real money gambling.

Recent Trends

A number of recent trends have been identified which demonstrate the problem that is arising.  The recent study found that between 30% and 40% of minors in the United States get involved in some form of gambling.  It was also found that these minors are more likely to gamble on scratch cards and slot games than other forms of gambling.

In the UK, it was found that 91% of children under the age of 18 have participated in some form of gambling at least once.  There is also a growing concern about minors’ abilities to falsify real ‘adult’ accounts on various online gambling portals.  The study found that there are three million children across the UK who have accessed online gambling sites using fake accounts.

The problem is also growing in Canada. 4% - 6% of high school students were found to have problems with gambling addiction.  It also emerged that 10% - 14% of minors ran the risk of developing an addiction.  A number of potential symptoms of online gambling were identified, which should be used to tell when problems are beginning to emerge.

    Unexplained absences from school or work
    Having a lot of material possessions or money from unexplained sources
    Mood swings
    Stealing and borrowing money
    Over-preoccupation with gambling games

One of the causes of these growing issues is the ability to deposit money into an account using PayPal.  Various e-wallets such as PayPal are increasingly becoming the primary form of funds transfer due to their ease and security. You will see more and more bingo sites accept PayPal and it seems that more needs to be done to prevent underage players to gaining access.

This problem must be addresses now before we enter a generation of major gambling addiction.

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