According to the article published on CasinoMagasinet.com, Playtika, a recently acquired software developer by Caesars Intractive Ent., has been walking the thin line since its Facebook application ‘Slotomania’ became #1 in Australia. The game, which resembles a video slot casino, started facing legal problems when a large number of Aussie teenagers began spending large amounts of money while playing it.
Though Slotomania doesn’t include any cashable prices, users can spend money purchasing in-game coins to reach new levels. Online platforms such as Facebook and Google have a rule of thumb: these games should include a legal protection against underage players, blocking their download or login once the player doesn’t fulfill the age consent. However, Slotomania didn’t include this protection system, and allowed some 13 year olds to play online and spend their parents’ money in the game.
Anger rose from parents’ groups reaching political levels in Australia. Under the current social pressure, local senators Nick Xenophon, Tim Costello and Richard Di Natale introduced a bill to limit the spread of apps similar to Slotomania, which are too similar to online casino games (also known as pokies). The bill is based on making companies use legal age consent software to protect underage players, but also to set a boundary to some social apps that encourage money spending.
This is not the first time Xenophon has raised legal actions against online game apps. On November 2011, the senator stood up against the game DoubleDown Casino for ‘poisoning young children’s minds’.
Some Australian newspapers grew suspicious of the legal accusations against Slotomania, and tried the application by themselves. A reporter from the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph created a fake Facebook account of a 13-year-old girl and received full access to the game, proving the legal demand and condemning the game system as well.
Xenophon complains that although Slotomania doesn’t let players cash out any winnings, the game boosts people to spend money online:
It is laughable to say it’s not gambling because you can’t take your winnings out … If you can lose real money playing online pokies, surely that should be covered [under the Interactive Gambling Act].
Australia is nowadays one of the biggest online casino meccas in the world, with 2.1% of its population suffering from a gambling addiction. Hence, the increased need to regulate this activity, especially among teenagers.
You can read the source article in the Norwegian language by following this link.