Online casinos are constantly growing in popularity due to the fact that players are able to play their favourite casino games from the comfort of their homes. A player will generally only require a computer and Internet access. However, there has now been a new shift from online casinos to the smartphone and mobile device platforms.
As many people already have a smartphone device, there has been a boom in the mobile casino world. In South Africa alone, there are 7 million smartphone users who are able to access and play mobile casino games using their smartphone device.
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However, if it is now so much easier to access the world of gambling, what effect has this had on gambling addictions?
Growing Problem of Gambling Addiction
Since the inception of gambling, there has been the problem of gambling addiction. As with other addictions, gamblers experience a high when they place a bet and when they win. It sparks spikes in dopamine, which can be found in both men and women. Gambling addicts actually start to chase that high feeling and will carry on gambling and making bets. A person that is addicted to gambling will often hide their losses and exaggerate their wins. Moreover, problem gamblers will always find ways to fund their addiction, which can quickly and easily lead to financial as well as emotional and relationship problems.
The National Council on Problem Gambling has estimated that in the United States, there are about 2 million adults that can be classified as pathological gamblers and about 4 to 6 million that can be classified as problem gamblers. As this is in the United States alone, the numbers are greatly more considering that many online and on mobile casinos can be accessed throughout the world.
How will Smartphone Casinos Affect Gambling Addictions
Whereas online casinos meant that a user had to rely on a desktop computer and an Internet connection, mobile casinos are easily accessible via gambling applications on a mobile device. As casinos are now targeting mobile devices, it will become much easier for those who do have a gambling problem to gamble. Gambling addicts will be able to play casino games at any given moment in time; thereby, making it harder to control their addiction. Mobile gambling addictions can also be easily hidden, because it has become the norm for people to be constantly connected to a mobile device.
Type of Mobile Gambling Addicts
There is no sure way to say who will be a gambling addict and who will fall prey to the ever increasing access to online and mobile casinos.
Gambling addicts are found in all economic classes; from lower class gamblers who live from one pay check to another to the more wealthy gamblers who can afford to gamble a large amount of money within a few hours.
There is not a large gap between men and women who are gambling addicts. It can be said though that men will play games that use skill whereas women are drawn to machines where it is about luck.
Students are also at risk of becoming problem gamblers, because gambling sites do not always request ID and age verifications. This can lure students and young adults into the world of gambling and creating problem gamblers from a younger age group.
Addressing the Problem of Mobile Gambling Addiction
Although it is possible to block certain casino applications on mobile devices, this is no sure way to prevent a gambling addict from gambling on their mobile devices. A new product that may help to curb this problem is the Next Step MasterCard. With the Next Step MasterCard, one can set limits on cardholder spending as well as track the spending behaviour of the cardholder. Therefore, such a card can’t be used on mobile casino sites and their use can be monitored by a guardian who is able to place limits on the amount of money spent.
As this new push comes to mobile casino gambling, so does the added threat of creating more gambling addicts or providing recovering addicts a new way in which to satisfy their gambling addiction.