News & Resources

Casino Smartphone Apps Are Cause For Caution

Aug. 23, 2012
3 mins
A young woman sits on her couch, drinking a coffee and scrolling on her phone in bright, trendy downtown apartment

Gambling can be a lot of fun -  but it can wreak absolute havoc on your finances if you don't exercise self-control. Now a new era of gambling is upon us - with the help of modern technology it’s easy for anyone to play a game of blackjack or roulette by simply using his or her smartphone. Since last year these mobile casinos have been giving users a chance to spend real money with the hopes of winning the jackpot - but they can also create problems for those who have trouble setting gambling limits.

Access For Young Users

Almost a third of mobile Internet users are under the age of 24. Mobile casinos can present a potential hazard to young people who may not fully grasp the gravity of what they are doing. Often a person as young as 18 can get a credit card in their name, making it easy for them to sign up online using their smartphone and start gambling.

Easily Hidden Danger

Although casinos and Internet gambling sites are available 24 hours, mobile banking takes this a step further by making gambling completely private. Many users' families might think they are simply checking email or surfing the net, and remain completely unaware of a forming dangerous habit until it's too late.

Smartphone Popularity

With the increasing popularity of smartphones, mobile casinos are becoming big business. For example, the online mobile gambling company Big Fish, founded in 2002, had revenue of more than US$180-million last year. How can an addicted gambler be controlled if companies are literally putting their drug of choice right into their hands?

In some cases, users may not realize they are indeed spending real money to stay in the game. Since so many apps are games, a naïve user may find it confusing to separate the gambling apps from the gaming apps. The most popular games available include Slots, Bingo, Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and Bingo.

Mobile Casino Use Is Anticipated to Increase

The prediction is by 2017, smartphones and tablets users will be wagering $100-billion annually up from about US$20-billion last year, according to Juniper Research, a U.S.-based provider of mobile technology analysis. There is big money to be made and the push is coming for more Las Vegas-style mobile casino apps. With time the apps will become more sophisticated and easier to use, a dangerous combination for someone trying to not gamble. The push is viewed by some as the biggest opportunity for game developers since the advent of the Internet.

Recognize the Warning Signs

Gambling addiction or problem gambling is a behaviour that causes disruptions in any major area of life. This could be psychological, physical, social or vocational. It’s a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences. If you feel that this describes your gambling habits seek help immediately with Gamblers Anonymous.

Rubina Ahmed-Haq

Rubina Ahmed-Haq is a financial journalist and personal finance expert with more than 15 years of experience. Her career spans three continents with appearances on TV, radio, print and online. She is the Finance Editor for HOMES Publishing. You can also read her columns in CondoLife and Active Life. Rubina runs the website www.AlwaysSaveMoney.ca. She has also contributed on personal finance matters at The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, National Post, CTV Newschannel, Mississauga Life Magazine, Masalamomma.ca, OurKidsMedia, CAA Magazine, South Asian Focus TV, ANOKHI Magazine, Bridal Fantasy Magazine, Canadian Running Magazine, FRESH JUICE magazine and NEWSTALK 1010.

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