The latest Gamasutra mobile gaming app charts are out. On the Android platform, Playtika’s Slotmania comes in at #2, followed by DragonPlay’s Slot City: Slot Machines at #3, Zynga Poker at #4 and DragonPlay’s Live Holdem Poker Pro at #6. On the iPhone, Slotomania is at #5, with Zynga Poker the only other casino-style app on the chart at #6. Casino apps have a much stronger presence on the iPad charts, with Slotomania HD at #4, BitRhymes’ Bingo Bash HD at #5, Zynga Poker at #6 and regular Slotomania at #7.
With casino games now representing 13% of all Facebook game activity, developer Playsino has launched the Playsino Publishing Network to help other social casino game developers bring their products to the masses. As “the only publisher focused exclusively on the hot social casino space,” Playsino Publishing head John Maffei told VentureBeat his company will not only publish other developers’ titles, but will spend a minimum of $100k per title to promote them. In the meantime, Playsino’s 15 employees (most of which are developers) are working on a suite of internally produced games for both social and mobile platforms, the first of which being Solitaire And Prizes.
THE DAILY MAIL‘S OUTRAGE DU JOUR
The increasing popularity of social casino games recently earned the ire of William Hill CEO Ralph Topping, who called for increased regulation of the sector. Topping’s comments came shortly after the Daily Mail’s financial offshoot, This Is Money, delivered an alarmist ‘slippery slope’ diatribe about how the free-play games were teaching 13-year-olds that gambling is harmless fun. The University of Salford’s Dr. Carolyn Downs was quoted as having been “alerted to the danger” of the games when her 13-year-old daughter became upset after losing some virtual money on the game Fluff Friends. Clearly, this is prima facie evidence for government intervention. After all, each of us can vividly recall how upset our eight-year-old selves became after landing on the wrong square on the Monopoly board, requiring us to hand over our last $150 in play money to our insufferable sibling, a psyche-scarring incident which directly led to our adult selves leading the charge for a violent overthrow of the global capitalist system. (Ahem.)
While voicing her fluffy fears at her daughter’s experience, Dr. Downs stated (without citing sources) that it was “well-established that the younger the children start gambling, the more likely it is they will become habitual gamblers and also problem gamblers.” Actually, the exact opposite is true, as detailed in research published by Dr. Patrick Basham in his book, Gambling: A Healthy Bet. Dr. Basham notes that the later in life that one is first exposed to gambling, the likelihood of becoming a problem gambler increases, not decreases. Further, the argument that increased gambling availability creates more problem gamblers was thoroughly debunked by separate studies conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and by the government of the Canadian province of British Columbia.
At the risk of stating the obvious, nobody wants kids to grow up to become problem gamblers, but there’s no need to demonize gambling or gaming companies for providing a highly enjoyable form of popular entertainment with which the overwhelming majority of consumers can safely interact. That is, unless you’re also willing to purge the planet of all Monopoly boards, which was first suggested by Chief Wiggum in the Simpsons episode Brawl In The Family.