A highly lucrative but somewhat secretive industry has exploded across the United States in the past decade. It’s the world of social casinos – apps or websites where you can play popular casino games like roulette, video poker or slots on your computer or mobile device.
In the United States alone, well over 100 million people report playing somewhat regularly on social casino apps. Last year, social casino companies earned more than $5 billion – but those companies claim their games are just entertainment, and thus have avoided any gambling regulations.
While the effects of social casino play aren’t being regularly tracked, some estimates say that the games appear to be five times more addictive that traditional casinos. Social casino companies are now using behavioral analysis software to quickly identify people who are likely to become big spenders – and they target those people with heavy marketing, putting them at greater risk of losing big.
One company that’s profiting off this trend is Facebook. Social casino apps are able to track players by their Facebook IDs, monitoring their game play and prodding them to keep spending. Facebook helps social casinos predict who is likely to spend big – and it charges a premium to encourage those people to spend more.
The whole system targets people whose online behavior puts them at risk for problem gambling. For some, the results have been devastating. Learn more about the effects social casinos have had on one woman’s life by clicking on the story below from PBS News Hour.
For more information about responsible gambling and helpful information and resources, visit BeforeYouBet.org.