Are Bitcoin, Mobile, and Social Trends Fueling Underage Gambling?
Online gambling is growing exponentially. It first emerged in 1994 and hit its first major growth spurt in the mid ‘90s with 15 online gambling sites in 1996 climbing to 200 in 1997. Today there are thousands of sites round the world promising riches with a click of a mouse or more recently a tap on a mobile.
Mobile gaming, a major trend in online gambling and betting globally, is expecting double-digit growth reaching over 40% of the total online gambling market by 2018, as the number of mobile gamblers increases by a hundred million.
Social gambling, evolving from the desire of game developers to monetize gaming on social networks, is another trend to watch along with the growing acceptance of the digital currency Bitcoin. The bitcoin revolution is now approaching a fascinating point in its development and hundreds of merchants worldwide have begun accepting this crypto currency at rampant speed.
Although advances in technology have vastly improved our daily lives, these recent trends have made underage gambling faster and more accessible, which is a serious issue that requires immediate attention and appropriate actions to safeguard our children.
A recent survey by the University of Shue Yan revealed one in four teenagers admitted to online gambling. Underage gamblers commonly bypass verification hurdles by using friends’ or family members’ information; in some cases, with their permission, the poll showed. Among them, 24 percent said they gambled illegally with the help of others, including encouragement from their parents.
Studies show that underage players are three times more likely to develop problematic playing than adults. Underage gambling has proven to have potentially serious, negative effects including the excessive length of time spent online, vulnerability to addiction, lack of sleep, and the associated impact on offline activities and relationships. This is only exacerbated when the individual is not tied to significant responsibilities such as a family or career that may otherwise mitigate their engagement.
Governments and gaming industry bodies are working together to attempt to stifle underage gambling. Reputable websites that monetize gaming are joining associations that are dedicated to promoting the development of responsible gambling practices worldwide. In the instance of thwarting underage gambling, some of these requirements include:
- Clear display of “18+” age restriction
- Registration process with a clear message on underage play
- Links to recognized filtering programs that parents/adults can utilize
- A policy for dealing with minors who access the site
- Display of a legal disclaimer outlining the policy regarding underage play
These are globally accepted standards by most online gaming and betting associations however, the most important one is that of age verification.
Age verification comes in many forms online and the degree or extent with which they are implemented is often regulated country by country. These age verification techniques are the real “gatekeepers” for stopping underage access and will only be as effective as the process used. That said, what is particularly noteworthy is the success of responsible online gambling operators in establishing processes for effective online age verification, when many other online service providers and retailers have failed to implement thorough measures. Given escalating levels of political concern and periodic media-led moral panics, this is a subject area where the online gambling industry has established valuable ‘good practice’ lessons that could possibly be shared with operators in the adult content/services sector, and with ordinary retailers selling goods or services, some of which may be age-limited.
Trulioo’s latest product Global Gateway simplifies the process with on-demand access to data from over 130 trusted sources, specifically aggregated and licensed to verify a growing list of 3 billion records from over 30 countries around the world. Our age verification process is utilized by many of the world’s, reputable online gaming companies and provides comprehensive, privacy assured, age verification services, globally.
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