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Social casinos on ACMA’s 2022-23 research agenda

Social casinos are a research priority for Australia’s media watchdog.

ACMAResearch

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released its research programme for 2022-23, which among other projects, lists one concerning social casinos.

Specifically, the ACMA will examine “the take up and usage of social casinos in Australia,” as well as “developments in international regulatory approaches.”

Social casino games are typically free-to-play mobile apps which don’t technically count as gambling since players do not wager real money.

However, most allow users to purchase virtual tokens, and there are concerns that social casino games may serve as a gateway to real-money gambling for more casual players.

Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie even introduced an amendment to Australia’s 2001 Interactive Gambling Act in 2020 that sought to ban social casino services.

Depending on the outcome of the ACMA’s research project, it could offer support or opposition to a ban.

“This research will inform the ACMA’s decisions to help maximise the economic and social benefits of communications infrastructure, content and services for Australia,” the watchdog said.

“Each year the ACMA examines a range of issues across the Australian media and communications landscape to give a clearer picture on how current and future developments may impact its regulatory role.”

The social casino research project was announced alongside six others, including a paper on the metaverse, and comes after two other gambling-related research projects were released in February.

These focused on affiliate services and their role “in promoting illegal online gambling,” as well as iGaming in Australia more broadly.

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