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Teens’ spending habits on gaming, gambling spark concern

September 19, 2023 Singapore iGaming & Gambling

Concerns are increasing over young people’s excessive expenditure on electronic games.

Asia News Network reported that 13-year-old Alicia (not her actual name) spends approximately $2,500 per month in arcades. Five times per month, Alicia, a student in Secondary 1, visits arcades to play games that award her with vouchers redeemable for electronics and toys. As players can win rewards worth more than what they wager, these games obscure the line between gaming and wagering.

To address these issues, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) intends to implement restrictions on incentives offered at amusement centers and festivals beginning March 1, 2024. These measures include limiting rewards to less than $100, prohibiting currency and cash equivalents as awards, and prohibiting customers from reselling their prizes to operators.

Among youthful participants, prize-redemption activities are particularly popular. The combination of skill and chance makes these games appealing to a wide audience. However, they can lead to excessive spending, and some participants may eventually seek out more hazardous forms of wagering.

Dr. Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist, recommends that parents monitor their children’s arcade expenditures to prevent them from going excessive. Andrew da Roza, an addiction clinician, explains that winning incentives and the anticipation of winning can motivate people to play these games. Even though they may not contribute to wagering addiction for the majority of people, those who experience significant distress or life harm may require professional assistance.

Despite these concerns, arcades provide tangible rewards that distinguish them from mobile and computer games. Some participants find these activities relaxing and stress-relieving. However, the impending restrictions by the MHA are intended to strike a balance between providing pleasurable experiences and limiting excessive expenditure, especially among young people.

Currently, game devices in amusement centers in Singapore must be approved by the police, and 147 amusement centers are licensed to operate.

Related Article: Does Claw Machine Game Turn Kids into Gamblers?

Original story by: Asia News Network

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