All respondents who reported gambling completed the nine-item PGSI, apart from those who only gambled on lottery-type forms on a less-than-weekly basis (total n = 403). Questions assessed the extent of gambling-related harm experienced over the previous 12 months with response options of ‘never’, ‘sometimes’, ‘most of the time’, and ‘almost always’. Total scores are used to classify respondents into the following groups: non-problem gamblers (PGSI = 0), low-risk gamblers (PGSI = 1 to 2), moderate-risk gamblers (PGSI = 3 to 7) and problem gamblers (PGSI = 8 to 27). Cronbach’s alpha for the PGSI in this sample was 0.96. The PGSI has been independently validated and shown to have excellent reliability, dimensionality, external/criterion validation, item variability, practicality, applicability, and comparability (McMillen and Wenzel, 2006, Neal et al., 2004).
Social casino games were introduced lsm99 as “gambling-themed games that are online and accessed through social media sites or mobile apps. They are free to play and do not provide real money prizes, but you can use real money to purchase additional virtual currency. Social casino games typically encourage users to connect with social media platforms (e.g., posting scores and sharing activity with friends). Social casino games may resemble lotto (e.g., Big Bucks Lotto), poker (e.g., Zynga Texas Hold’Em), casino games (e.g., DoubleDown Casino, MyVegas), slot machines (e.g., Slotomania, Heart of Vegas), sports betting (e.g., Betting Billionaire), or bingo (e.g., Zynga Slingo, Bingo Island 2).” Respondents were asked how frequently they had played SCGs in the last 12 months. Respondents were asked if they had spent money on SCGs and, if so, how often and to indicate their motivations for playing SCG (same response options as for gambling motivations).
SCG users were asked how similar they considered SCGs and gambling to be in terms of appearance, playing experience, and excitement of winning. Respondents were asked if they had any interest in gambling with real money on their favourite SCGs if they could, whether they had gambled as a result of their SCG use, and, if they had, which aspects of SCGs had encouraged them to gamble. Respondents were also asked to what extent their experiences with SCGs had increased or decreased how much they would like to and actually gamble for money, and the extent to which they agreed or disagreed that SCG operators encouraged them to gamble.
The 619 respondents who indicated that they had played any of six forms of SCGs at least once in the last 12 months were classified as SCG users. In open-ended questions 98 respondents reported that they had misunderstood or misread the introduction text explaining social casino games and subsequent responses revealed that they were not SCG users.1 These respondents were reclassified as SCG non-users, leaving a final total of 521 SCG users.