A University of Hamburg researcher studying gambling addiction is raising awareness over a new threat: pay-to-play games on your smart phones and tablets.
Dr. Ingo Fiedler says just like problem gambling, a small portion of those people playing games downloaded as apps also spend much more than they should.
“With the new forms of gaming, we do not as many problems in the financial sense as in traditional gambling, but it comes close. There are people losing so much money, that they are practically bankrupt.”
Fiedler says even worse, while casinos have age restrictions, app games don’t and are usually played by young people.
“If it is an adolescent, if it is an adult, if it is a juvenile, if it is a child, they can play. They can also pay. We see the age range being really dominated by younger people. They do not have to be adults yet but could be even younger. We also have a little bit more males than females.”
Fiedler says in some cases he found people who spent $10,000 a month on games like ‘Candy Crush’
As for a solution, he suggests capping in-app spending.
“A typical problem of gambing addicts is that they play for more than they intended to. We coul duse the same methods for the pay to play gaming in the sense that if you hvae a limit of say $100 a month you cannot pay for more but you are allowed to raise your limits after like say 48 hours.”
He says in any case it is time for some kind of regulation in the app industry.