Can Arcades and Claw Machines Lead to Gambling Habits in Children?

Can Arcades and Claw Machines Lead to Gambling Habits in Children?

It’s not a new thing. Parents hand their children lots of quarters to put in arcade games, giving their children plenty of fun and entertainment. However, when arcade games give tokens, or children use the credit from the arcade to use their claw machines and play for prizes, is it crossing the line to gambling?

Gambling is strictly controlled, with rules and age limits in place. What is the reason kids are permitted to participate in these bizarrely similar games?

Are they gambling? If so, what does this mean for children?

Are Arcade Games Gambling?

Can Arcades and Claw Machines Lead to Gambling Habits in Children?

While it varies for each US state, arcade games are usually not considered to be gambling because of two reasons.

  1. These are games of skill’ in which the players are in control of the outcomes that they play.
  2. Arcades do not pay out cash prizes.

In the UK, There are three kinds of amusement arcades that are controlled by the UKGC.

The gaming machines found in arcades are classified according to things such as licensing, restrictions, maximum stakes, as well as other factors. to determine if they’re gambling.

The games that are available for youngsters at the majority of British arcades are classified by ” category D” gambling machines like crane grabs and coin pushers.

Category D machines can be played with the highest stakes, ranging from 10p and PS1, with a max cash amount of PS10. Non-monetary prizes may be more valuable.

Even though they are classified as low-level gambling machines, it is legal for all children to play on the category D machine.

Similar to the US, children in the US are allowed to play on machines referred to in the US as “skill with prizes” (SWPs), in which a game tests a participant’s “skill” to get a prize instead of playing game luck. SWPs are typically located outside of arcades in cinemas and shopping malls.

Addictive Features Similar To Slot Machines

Can Arcades and Claw Machines Lead to Gambling Habits in Children?

In both countries, it’s standard to have arcade games give tokens or other prizes, which can later be exchanged to win rewards.

In keeping the amount of money awarded lower than a set amount, the game can be classified as an entertainment or a skill game in lieu of gambling. However, even when the prize is just tiny stuffed animals, the resemblances the arcade machines share with gambling games for adults are quite shocking.

Both games employ the same addictive elements that keep gamblers glued to casinos: the thrill of winning as well as bright lights and sounds as well as the chance to earn rewards on a regular basis.

Two arcade classics are played across the globe, including two arcade games that are played around the world “coin pusher“, in which players attempt to get money out by putting in their own coins and “claw grab”, the game in which players attempt to collect the prize with a remote-controlled claw.

The coin pusher, as well as the claw grab, were designed to feel like games based on skill which means that players believe it’s their skills and not luck that determines whether they’ll win the prize.

According to Vox, The claw-grabbing arcade has been built with a standard rate of return to the player (RTP) percentage, much like regular slot machines.

In terms of the game, it determines the outcome and does not depend on your abilities.

If a game determines who will win at what time, outcomes are not predictable – that’s when they begin to become addictive.

Research Shows Arcade Games Can Lead To Problem Gambling

While games such as the claw machine are legally accessible to children and classified as games of skills, There is no doubt that they can be extremely addictive.

Research has shown that it’s the addiction-inducing nature of low-level gambling games that could lead youngsters to develop serious gambling habits as they grow older.

The most recent survey conducted by UK Gambling Commission revealed that 31% of kids (aged between 16 and 11) had splurged their own money gambling in the past year. 22% had made the decision to play in arcades.

The most played games included that of the pusher (73 per cent) along with the claw grab (72 per cent). Both are associated with problematic gambling in adults.

A research journal that looked at the habits of gamblers within both the UK and Australia discovered that 60.8 per cent of Australian gamblers had used coin push machines when they were children, compared to 48.6 per cent of Australian gamblers who are not. The research suggests that playing the game of coin pusher as a kid could cause problems with gambling into adulthood.

In the US, Coin pushers are allowed under federal law, but several states have been banned from using the use of these devices. Coin pushers are not banned, however, game claw grabs are accessible across the nation.

It is believed that the prize is too low to be considered a gamble, but a study shows that it’s the game itself rather than the value of the prize that causes addiction to gambling. This implies that despite the tiny prize, American children may still become addicted to a small stake, low-payoff arcade game such as the claw grabber.

While this might not seem like it at first, as with addicts with addiction issues, gamblers slowly get intolerant to their thrill, which causes them to play higher stakes in order to feel the same excitement.

This implies that children who are initially playing the arcade game of claw grab could move on to more risky forms of gambling when their addiction grows.

The Rise Of Casino Arcades

Can Arcades and Claw Machines Lead to Gambling Habits in Children?

Twenty-one of the tourists who come to Las Vegas now bring their children along. The increased demand for children’s entertainment has prompted casinos to set up arcades of their own.

A good example is Bally’s, which is now known as the Horseshoe, which has replaced its tiny sportsbook with a kid’s arcade.

This arcade, along with the majority of arcades located in Las Vegas, has games that are very similar to the ones found in a real casino.

In addition to providing children-friendly entertainment, casino arcades generate a significant amount of money for casinos, and, in reality, the typical arcade game earns the same amount each day as a typical slot machine.

However, some individuals find casinos to be uncomfortable since they believe that these games in a casino setting are actively helping children be future gamblers in the same way as the way candy cigarettes that were marketed as candy led youngsters to smoke.

Should Arcades Be More Tightly Regulated?

If studies have proven that children play arcade games and the development of addiction to gambling when they are adults, many will ask why arcades don’t get better control.

In a few instances, there have been instances where they were.

The year 2019 witnessed Britain and UK ban youngsters under 16 from playing Category D slot machines. However, other games, such as those that push coins, were legal for everyone.

It’s despite the fact that it is the European Lotto Betting Association itself has declared that children shouldn’t be allowed to access any gambling product, especially category D games such as the claw grab because they are an entry point into deeper gambling.

The British Amusement Catering Trade Association has sought to alleviate concerns about these games by altering its voluntary code of conduct, bringing the minimum age for some categories of D-related games up to 18. Because this change is voluntary, arcade owners are able to ignore it, and a lot do, mostly because rising energy costs have placed financial strain on arcades.

Many arcade owners cannot afford to give up the dollars that children pay for category D games.

Furthermore, there are concerns that if arcades in the UK become too heavily controlled, they’ll be forced to shut down. This could mean the loss of 120,000 jobs and around $1 billion in economic losses.

To make things even more difficult to make things worse, many arcades are located in the poorest cities in the country, and their closing can have dire implications for the people living in the area.

Instead of tighter regulation, it was suggested that arcades contribute a levy to aid in the research into gambling and its treatment. But, this has been met with strong resentment by arcade owners, a lot of whom claim they can’t afford to give money to charity.

NHS England opened its first gambling addiction clinic for children in the year 2019 after a surge in the number of children suffering from gambling disorders.

In the US, there has been a significant increase in high school students who gambled after the legalization of betting on sports, with a staggering 6 per cent of them being diagnosed with an addiction.

Self-help groups, helplines and specialized counselling sessions are all designed to offer ways for parents and children to cope with addiction to gambling. However, the number of teenagers being addicted to gambling has been increasing.

Where does the responsibility rest?

Everyone from arcade owners to casino owners to the parents of even schools have a part to play in reducing addiction.

Arcades are fun to play. But it’s obvious that they can cross the line between gambling and entertainment and should be viewed with caution by all to ensure the safety of children.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top