The present study revealed that, compared to individuals who did not play SCGs, adolescent SCG users were more likely to participate in both online monetary gambling and land-based monetary gambling across nearly all SCGs assessed. Previous investigations of SCG use among adolescents and adults have also reported similar findings [10, 20, 29]. Given the cross-sectional nature of the present study, it is not possible to know whether SCG play facilitates the transition to monetary gambling, whether adolescents who gamble seek out SCGs as a substitute for monetary gambling activities, or whether individuals who are already monetary gamblers choose to play SCGs because of the considerable similarities between the two activities [6, 11, 14, 20, 76].
Social casino gaming and monetary gambling among adolescents
However, recent longitudinal analyses HappyLuke conducted using adult and adolescent samples suggest that social casino gaming may indeed facilitate the crossover into monetary gambling [21, 26]. Consequently, it is plausible that social casino gaming may act as a prime for subsequent monetary gambling by facilitating the development of gambling habits that can be extended into monetary venues [17, 22]. This transition from SCG play into monetary gambling may be particularly relevant to some Canadian jurisdictions (i.e., Ontario) where monetary online gambling has been legalized. The legalization of monetary online gambling creates an environment in which gambling via the Internet is legitimized and accessible . It further leads to the proliferation of advertising for online monetary gambling games, particularly within SCGs . Consequently, adolescent SCG players residing in jurisdictions where online monetary gambling is legal may be particularly at-risk of pursuing this type of gambling given their familiarity with Internet-based gambling activities, and given their exposure to online-gambling advertisements. Further research is needed to examine the link between social casino gaming and online monetary gambling pre- and post-legalization of online gambling in relevant jurisdictions.
Interestingly, while players of SCG poker were significantly more likely than SCG non-players to take part in online monetary gambling, they did not differ significantly from SCG non-players in their tendency to seek out land-based monetary gambling. A potential explanation for this observation may be rooted in existing studies of typical gambling habits. Specifically, research has shown that individuals who gamble across different modalities tend to be consistent in the gambling activities they pursue [24, 26]. Among poker players, who typically identify strongly with the game of poker [26, 78], the tendency to remain dedicated to the game across various platforms may be particularly evident. In the case of adolescents who play the SCG of poker, however, a transition from social casino gaming communities into strictly monitored land-based monetary gambling venues may be difficult due to legal restrictions or the potentially intimidating nature of the poker-game environment. Instead, adolescent poker players interested in monetary gambling may more avidly seek out online monetary gambling opportunities that offer a less regulated and largely anonymous gambling environment [79, 80]. Further, the draw to online monetary poker among SCG poker players may be magnified by the popularity of the game on the Internet, and by the pervasive advertising for online poker that is typically embedded in SCGs . These suggested effects represent an opportunity for further study, particularly in the context of SCGs.