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Participants were categorized as being SCG players for each game type if they indicated that they played a given game with any frequency in the past three months. Significant associations exist between SCG play, monetary gambling, and problem gambling among adolescents. In pairing these replication efforts with assessments of SCG player characteristics, the aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the manner in which SCG play is related to monetary gambling among adolescents, and to build upon existing longitudinal studies on this topic. In fact, studies of the environmental and personal factors associated with SCG play have focused almost exclusively on adult samples [ 10 , 30 , 31 ], and therefore potentially relevant variables specific to younger cohorts have largely been omitted from SCG investigations. To calculate gambling severity, ratings on the GPSS are summed, and the total number of items that were answered is subtracted from the sum. This engagement in simulated gambling games by young individuals is deemed potentially problematic because it may encourage an early transition into monetary gambling [ 2 , 14 , 18 , 19 ]. Lastly, compared to adults who do not take part in social casino gaming, adults who play SCGs are more likely to be employed full-time, but are also more likely to be unemployed or reliant on a disability pension [ 10 ]. Respondents were coded as non-gamblers if they indicated that they did not gamble in the past three months on any of the activities listed above. Online gamblers were participants who indicated that they had gambled for money or for something of value at least once in the past three months on any of the following three activities: 1 Internet poker; 2 sports pools or games online; 3 slot machines online. Logistic regression was used to assess the factors associated with SCG play. Based on existing literature, it is predicted that, among adolescents, males will be more likely to play the SCG of poker, whereas females will be more likely to play the SCG of slots [ 10 ]. Existing studies have reported that adolescents who play SCGs are more likely to engage in monetary gambling, and are more likely to endorse indicators of pathological gambling in comparison to SCG non-players [ 14 , 26 , 27 ]. Moreover, the study examines the extent to which social casino gaming is associated with monetary gambling and problem gambling in this cohort. Further, it is hypothesized that those who have played SCGs in the past three months will be more likely to report: being a current smoker, having access to either very high or very low disposable income, having parents or close peers who gamble, achieving lower grades in school, leading a more sedentary lifestyle, binge-drinking, and engaging in monetary gambling activities [ 10 , 15 , 44 ]. These same effects may also be applicable to SCGs. Although a pervasiveness in screen time is harmful on its own [ 50 ], it may also increase exposure to online gaming and gambling, and may subsequently result in greater SCG play among this cohort. Specific hypotheses regarding the manner in which factors associated with SCG play may differ across game types have not been put forth due to the paucity of research on this subject. The differentiation between SCG types in the present analysis was deemed important given that previous research on monetary gambling has demonstrated that individuals who engage in different types of gambling activities are typically defined by unique characteristics and tendencies [ 40 , 60 ]. Specifically, researchers have noted that male SCG players are more likely to engage in competitive SCGs, particularly poker, whereas female SCG players show a preference for online gaming-machine games e. Binge-drinking has been show to increase during adolescence [ 52 ], and it has been linked to risky activities, including illicit drug use, tobacco use, and physical aggression [ 53 , 54 ]. An additional factor that may be associated with social casino gaming among adolescents is binge-drinkingโ€”the tendency to engage in the heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time with the intention of becoming intoxicated [ 51 ]. In addition to exploring these new effects, the present study aims to replicate previously reported associations between SCG use, monetary gambling, and problem gambling among adolescents. Participants also indicated how many of their closest friends gambled for money. Although sedentary behaviour has been largely overlooked in studies of monetary gambling behaviours in general, some existing evidence suggests that more substantial periods of inactivity as well as indicators of poor physical health, such as obesity, are positively associated with a propensity toward monetary gambling across all age groups [ 45 , 46 ]. Although a number of the factors that are characteristic of adult SCG players are also relevant to adolescents, it is plausible that additional characteristics beyond those identified for adults are related to SCG play among adolescents. As a result, social casino gaming represents a potential public health issue. Academic performance is another factor not studied among adult SCG users that may be relevant to an understanding of social casino gaming among adolescents, particularly due to the centrality of school activities to adolescent lives [ 42 ]. Empirical research is needed to determine whether these same characteristics that defines adult SCG users are also applicable to adolescents who take part in social casino gaming. Given the absence of monetary betting and rewards in SCGs, these games are not legally classified as gambling activities, and are therefore unregulated [ 7 ]. Therefore, adolescents represent a cohort with substantial exposure to and interest in SCGs. Existing studies of online gambling show that poor academic performance, as reflected by lower grades in school, is predictive of monetary online gambling among adolescents [ 15 , 43 , 44 ]. These estimates are in line with prevalence rates reported for SCG play among adults [ 10 , 11 ]. The cigarette criterion for determining smoking status is an established criterion in tobacco research [ 70 , 71 ], and it has been used reliably in previous studies of tobacco use [ 72 , 73 ].{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Further, a large and representative sample of adolescents from three Canadian provinces is examined in the present study, thereby overcoming a limitation of the majority of Canadian studies of adolescent gambling that have primarily relied upon convenience samples recruited from major cities [ 61 ]. It was also shown that current smokers were significantly more likely to participate in simulated slots online relative to adolescents who did not play SCGs. The present study represents one of the first empirical analyses of the characteristics defining adolescent social casino gamers. The GPSS consists of nine items assessing behaviours pertinent to problem gambling that occurred in the past three months, which have psychological, social, financial, and inhibitory consequences. Respondents were asked to indicate if any of their parents, step-parents, or guardians gambled for money. If this behavioural pattern extends to social casino gaming, then it is feasible that binge-drinking may also be associated with SCG play among adolescents. Binge-drinking is also significantly associated with at-risk and pathological gambling among adolescents [ 56 , 57 ]. In studies of adult samples, researchers have identified a number of factors that are more characteristic of SCG players versus non-players [ 10 , 30 ]. Specifically, participants were asked how often they played the following games for fun no money : Internet poker, Internet slots, gambling games on Facebook. Globally, about million individuals play SCGs monthly [ 8 ], and approximately 81 million individuals play SCGs on a daily basis [ 9 ]. Social casino gaming represents a popular form of entertainment. It is also one of the first studies to examine the factors associated with social casino gaming across different types of SCGs: poker, slots, and SCGs hosted on the social media site Facebook. Studies of monetary online gambling among adolescents may provide preliminary insight into the manner in which these potentially overlooked variables are related to social casino gaming, given that SCGs and monetary online gambling games are typically used by individuals with similar sociodemographic profiles [ 10 ]. These results are in line with studies of online and land-based monetary gambling reported among adults and adolescents [ 32 , 33 , 34 ]. Land-based gamblers were participants who reported gambling for money or for something of value at least once in the past three months through one or more of the following gambling activities: 1 lottery tickets; 2 instant-win or scratch tickets; 3 cards; 4 board games or dice; 5 video lottery terminals; 6 slot machines not online; 7 arcade or video games; 8 sports select; 9 sports pools or games not online; 10 horse races; 11 performance in games of skill e. In cases where participants reported having played multiple types of SCGs in the past three months, their responses were assessed under each game-type category that they endorsed. A key factor that may have an impact on SCG use among adolescents is peer and parental transmission of behaviours and attitudes pertinent to gambling [ 37 , 38 ]. Despite the availability of best practice principles set forth by the International Social Games Association [ 16 ], social casino gaming is largely unregulated. Respondents were classified as non-smokers if they reported having never smoked or if they indicated that they had smoked fewer than cigarettes in their lifetime. Additionally, studies show that early exposure to gambling activities, including participation in SCGs at a young age, is a risk factor for the development of future problem gambling [ 23 , 24 ], whereby individuals experience considerable negative consequences and personal distress as a result of their gambling activities [ 25 ]. With the proliferation of social casino games SCGs online, which offer the opportunity to gamble without monetary gains and losses, comes a growing concern regarding the effects of these unregulated games on public health, particularly among adolescents. Gambling intervention efforts directed at this population should aim to identify personal and environmental factors associated with social casino gaming, and should be tailored to different types of SCGs. Although a mirroring of these links has also been noted between among adults [ 20 , 21 , 29 ], it should be noted that adolescents may be particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of SCG use. Studies carried out in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong have shown that adolescents who have close friends or parents who engage in monetary gambling are more likely to participate in monetary online gambling [ 15 , 39 , 40 , 41 ]. Advancements in technology have fueled the expansion of gambling activities beyond land-based venues and into widely accessible online formats. The CAGI is the seminal measure developed to assess the behavioural component of gambling among adolescents, and it has demonstrated sound psychometric properties in previous studies using adolescent samples [ 67 , 68 , 69 ]. Therefore, the availability of SCGs to adolescents may facilitate problem gambling tendencies among these individuals, and may ultimately have implications for their mental health and well-being. Despite the fact that adolescents are avid users of SCGs, and appear to be particularly susceptible to the negative consequences of these games, little is known about the characteristics of adolescent social casino gamers. These microtransactions represent the main revenue source for SCGs. In the current sample, only 1. Further, academic problems, such as missed classes, poor study habits, and failure to submit work, are also significantly associated with more pervasive monetary online gambling [ 41 ]. However, given the limited research pertaining to SCG use, little is currently known about the manner in which adolescents engage with this new gambling medium. Specifically, by normalizing gambling behaviours, offering a training ground through which gambling-related skills and habits are developed, and instilling an excitement for gambling activities that can only be augmented through higher-stakes waging and winning, SCGs may act as a gateway to gambling for adolescents [ 2 , 17 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 ]. Although profiles of SCG players differed across SCG game types, factors significantly associated with the playing of SCGs were gender, weekly spending money, having friends and parents who gamble, and screen time. Specifically, while bets and winnings in SCGs take the form of virtual currency, which holds no value outside of the games, and which cannot be converted into money, monetary gambling is defined by bets and winnings that take the form of currency or other items of monetary value [ 2 ]. These additional correlating factors with SCG play are possible, given that adolescents are distinct from adults developmentally, and they exhibit gambling tendencies and preferences that are unique from those of adults [ 35 , 36 ]. Theories of deviance suggest that a general propensity toward risk-taking may explain the typical co-occurrence between alcohol misuses and other risky activities, including gambling, whereby adolescents who seek stimulation and short-term and immediate gratification tend to engage in multiple problem behaviours [ 58 , 59 ]. The present study aims to identify the factors that characterize adolescent social casino gamers, and to determine whether these factors differ by SCG type. All school boards, schools, and students who took part in the YSS in these provinces were also eligible to complete the YGS. Use of SCGs in the past three months is assessed in the present study to capture current participation rather than lifetime participation in social casino gaming. These games include, but are not limited to casino table games, slots, poker, lotto, bingo, and sports betting. The YGS was administered in both English and French following the YSS questionnaire, and it was completed by participating students in their classrooms during school hours. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Metrics details. SCGs differ fundamentally from monetary gambling, however. Establishing the features that are typical of adolescent social casino gamers is critical to informing targeted intervention strategies, and to identifying at-risk sub-groups within the adolescent population. These same patterns of effects may further extend to SCG use. Consequently, it was possible for a single participant to be represented under each of the three game-type categories in the study. As a result, adolescents appear to be more likely than adults to carry inaccurate perceptions of SCGs, and to use SCGs as a springboard for further gambling activities. In support, Gainsbury, King et al. Overall, Compared to adolescents who did not report playing SCGs, SCG players were typically more likely to participate in monetary gambling activities, and were more prevalently classified as problem gamblers of low-to-moderate severity or high severity. Participants respond to each item by indicating the frequency with which they engage in the target behaviour using a Likert-type scale on which higher scores indicate greater frequency. Sedentary behaviour, exhibited by a lack of physical activity, may also be a factor relevant to adolescent SCG players. Additionally, based on existing findings, it is expected that higher-severity problem gambling will be observed among adolescents who have played SCGs in the past three months versus those who have not [ 14 , 26 ]. Peer Review reports. This growth has resulted in the development of social casino games SCGs โ€”online games featuring a gambling theme that are available through standalone websites, social networking platforms, and mobile-device applications [ 1 , 2 ]. Previous studies of adolescents have further reported a significant association between binge-drinking and the risky activity of monetary gambling. Three items were used to measure whether participants have played SCGs, consistent with previous studies [ 15 , 65 ]. Specifically, it has been shown that adolescents with a history of gambling are more likely to have experienced episodes of binge-drinking in the past year [ 55 ]. Students were recruited to complete the YGS through stratified multistage sampling that yielded provincially representative samples from three Canadian provinces: Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Consequently, they are a vulnerable population in the study of SCG use that warrants more comprehensive investigation. Most notably, longitudinal studies of adolescents residing in Northern Germany [ 28 ] and the province of Quebec, Canada [ 26 ] have reported that participation in simulated versions of gambling games is a significant predictor of subsequent monetary gambling. SCGs closely resemble gambling activities in that they require players to stake bets on outcomes governed by elements of chance in an effort to win rewards [ 3 , 4 ]. Poker and slots represent the most popular SCGs among adult samples [ 10 , 17 ], and Facebook is the most popular social media site for SCG play [ 21 ]. Data collection occurred in the years โ€”, and therefore it preceded the legalization of online gambling that took place in Ontario in January, On the day of participation, all students were notified of their right to decline participation in the study.