Postprint of: Gainsbury, SM, Russell, A & Hing, N 2014, 'An investigation of social casino gaming among land-based and Internet gamblers: a comparison of socio-demographic characteristics, gambling and co-morbidities', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 33, pp. 126-135.
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Social casino games are free-play online games that feature gambling themes, but do not payout winnings in monetary form. These games are distinct from Internet gambling; however, the cross-over between these consumer markets is not well understood. This study compared the use of social casino games among a population of 2010 Australian adult Internet and land-based gamblers who completed a nationally representative telephone survey. The most popular social casino games were poker, gaming machines and casino table games and this popularity differed by gender. Social casino game players were more likely to be younger than non-social casino game players and had more similarities with Internet than land-based gamblers. Internet gamblers were more likely to also play social casino games than land-based gamblers, and use of these games was related to high engagement with gambling. Social casino gamers were more likely to smoke and use illicit drugs, and to have higher levels of psychological distress and gambling problems compared to non-social casino game players. This study is highly significant as it is one of the first comprehensive studies to examine the relationship between social casino game play and gambling in a representative adult population. Consumer protection measures should be strengthened where social casino games are offered in close proximity to gambling and when social casino players are encouraged to migrate to gambling opportunities.