The Social Casino Gaming-Gambling Link: Motivation for Playing Social Casino Games Determines Whether Self-Reported Gambling Increases or Decreases Among Disordered Gamblers


  • Samantha J. Hollingshead
  • Hyoun S. Kim
  • Michael J A. Wohl
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky



social casino gaming, disordered gambling, gambling, motivation, craving, benefits, harm


Engagement with social casino games (i.e., free online casino-like games available on social networking sites) has been found to be a risk factor for increased gambling behaviours (Kim, Wohl, Salmon, Gupta, & Derevensky, 2015). However, this may not be true for all social casino gamers. In the current research, we tested the idea that motivation to play social casino games will predict changes in self-reported gambling behaviours among disordered gamblers. Results showed that disordered gamblers (N = 140) who were motivated to play social casino games for the social connection it provides or for skill building reported an increase in their gambling. Conversely, playing in order to cope with negative life events or for excitement was not predictive of gambling. However, gamblers who reported playing social casino games to reduce cravings to gamble reported an overall decrease in gambling. The implications of social casino games as a potential harm reduction strategy for some disordered gamblers are discussed.






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