Players do not wager money in online games such as HollywoodCasino.com, the online game sponsored by Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. But players can win credits that allow them to make the leaderboard and open up new levels of play.
A national specialist in gambling addiction and representatives of the online gaming industry are slated to make presentations to the state Gaming Commission Tuesday, after questions were raised earlier this year about whether online games that mimic casinos are deceptive.
In March, the commission invited specialists to provide information about the online games, known in the industry as “social gaming.”
“I think everyone is well served” by the commission learning about “the range of issues” presented by social gaming, Commission Chairman Stephen P. Crosby said at the time.
While it is an open question whether the commission has jurisdiction over social gaming, members should become knowledgeable about the topic, he said.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 1 p.m.
Players do not wager money in the online games, such as HollywoodCasino.com, the online game sponsored by Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville. But players can win credits that allow them to make the leaderboard and open up new levels of play. Critics say the games’ large payoffs condition players to expect similar wins at the casino, where the odds of success are much lower.
In a Globe story about social gaming in March, Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, said online slot machines also raise concerns “because there is still a risk of using it compulsively.”
“It is the action of gambling that is addictive, not the prizes,” he said.
Whyte is slated to speak at Tuesday’s meeting, along with two officials of Massachusetts Digital Games Institute, a coalition of industry, academic and government representatives that promotes the design and development of digital games, and the chief executive officer of International Social Games Association, a social gaming trade group.
The commission plans to hold a second meeting on social gaming, which representatives of Penn National, which owns Plainridge Park Casino, are be invited to attend. Representatives of Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts, which are licensed in Massachusetts to operate casinos, are also invited.
Sean P. Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @spmurphyboston.
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