Outrage over casino mobile phone games that ‘groom children for a lifetime of gambling’ – as it’s revealed one woman lost $400,000 playing
- Independent MP Andrew Wilkie pushed to ban casino-style games in Australia
- He said they caused betting addictions and groomed children to gamble
- Certain games charge real money for virtual chips that cannot be cashed out
- American social casino player Suzie Kelly lost $400,000 to Big Fish Casino
Casino mobile phone games have been slammed as a tool used to ‘groom children for a lifetime of gambling’.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie pushed Federal Parliament to ban casino-style games in Australia last week amid concerns they cause gambling addictions.
‘It’s totally a con and it should be illegal,’ he told 9NEWS.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie pushed Federal Parliament to ban casino-style games (file image pictured) in Australia last week amid concerns they encourage children to gamble
Mr Wilkie criticised games like Big Fish Casino, available on Facebook and app stores, for encouraging children to develop gambling habits.
‘These are gambling companies looking at new ways to effectively groom children for a lifetime of gambling,’ Mr Wilkie explained.
He said online casinos are illegal in Australia but casino games are a grey area as they start out free.
Big Fish Casino, owned by Australian pokie manufacturer Aristocrat, charges real money for virtual chips that cannot be cashed out.
American social casino player Suzie Kelly lost $400,000 to the online game.
‘They only take money to give you virtual chips to continue to play on their app,’ she explained.
Mr Wilkie’s ‘Interactive Gambling Amendment (Banning Social Casinos and Other Measures) Bill 2020’ hopes to ban social casinos in Australia.
He told parliament: ‘Players are enticed in with free chips and credits, only to be encouraged to pay real money to continue playing or place higher bets. The real kicker is that players can’t cash out once the game is finished.’
Mr Wilkie said the games ‘effectively groom children for a lifetime of gambling’
‘Social casinos pose a particular risk to children and young adults, whether they are using a parent’s credit card to purchase chips or just playing for free.
‘Australian research has found that ”gambling-like” games on social media effectively prepare children for gambling with real money later in life because they familiarise underage users with how to play casino games,’ Mr Wilkie explained.
The Federal Government said it would review Mr Wilkie’s proposal.
The International Social Games Association said social casino games could not be considered gambling.
‘Social Games – including those with casino themes – offer no opportunity to win money or anything of value and are therefore clearly not gambling.
‘The player demographic for these games is overwhelmingly older adult. Player demographic studies show that they do not appeal to and are not played by children,’ the ISGA said in a statement.
Daily Mail Australia reached out to Aristocrat who declined to comment.
Mr Wilkie (pictured) proposed the Banning Social Casinos and Other Measures Bill last week