The International Social Games Association has released its first report into the state of the free-to-play sector, but its findings have failed to properly address concerns that social casino play may lead to real-money gambling.

The bookmaking industry has suffered a series of setbacks recently because of the way it has tackled public and media concern about fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) and the prevalence of high-street bookmakers in the UK, so the decision to establish an industry association and lobbying voice for the social games sector was a wise move.

A number of tabloid newspapers have already raised concerns about the possibility that free-to-play casino games could lead to gambling addiction among users. While this can be dismissed out of hand as media scaremongering, the industry appeared to be moving quickly to address the issue before it really became an issue.

But after more than a year’s work, the first piece of research published by the International Social Games Association (ISGA) has not effectively addressed these concerns. For those who scan the executive summary the report offers up an easy, snappy conclusion: There is no link between social casino play and problem gambling behaviour.

But on closer inspection it is hard to justify this statement based on the evidence contained in the report – no matter what personal opinion you hold on the links between free-to-play and real-money gambling.

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