Status of SCG play (players versus non-players) and gambling status (gamblers versus non-gamblers) was limited to the previous three months in the present study. This timeframe was established during the development and validation of the GPSS of the CAGI , and this same timeframe was extended to our measures of social casino HappyLuke gaming in the interest of consistency. Due to our restricted focus on the preceding three months, however, it should be noted that the reported results provide a conservative estimate of the effects examined in our study. Additionally, although the present study employed a common threshold of 100 cigarettes to determine smoking status, we acknowledge that this criterion may be arbitrary, and perhaps too coarse to effectively capture the complex nature of early experimentation with tobacco among adolescents . Furthermore, we recognize that Facebook better reflects a medium for accessing SCGs rather than a type of SCG, and therefore our assessment of SCGs on Facebook may have confounded point of access with game class. Future studies of SCGs are encouraged to assess SCG types independently from SCG mediums.
Due to the fact that the YGS was a supplementary measure with length restrictions, it was not feasible to assess an exhaustive list of variables potentially relevant to SCG play. Variables that were not examined in the present study, but that may ultimately bear relevance to assessments of SCG player characteristics include: platform of access to SCGs (e.g., social networks, apps, video games, demo games , location of access to SCGs (e.g., home versus outside of home) , an exhaustive list of all possible SCGs available to players (e.g., sports betting, bingo, blackjack) , and frequency of SCG play . Subsequent investigations of SCGs are encouraged to examine these variables in an effort to yield a more comprehensive understanding of social casino gaming, particularly among adolescents.
With the increasing convergence between gambling and gaming activities online, as seen in part through the proliferation of SCGs across various web-based platforms, individuals are being increasingly prompted to engage in simulated gambling behaviours . This early exposure to gambling may be particularly detrimental to adolescents, who are especially avid users of SCGs, given that it may be a risk factor in subsequent monetary and problem gambling, as suggested in the present study and as shown in previous research [14, 24]. However, it should also be noted that the transition from SCG exposure to subsequent gambling may be complex, and influenced by numerous biological, social, behavioural, cognitive, emotional, and motivational factors [23, 24]. The present study identified some factors that appear to be associated with SCG play among adolescents, including gender, weekly spending money, smoking status, having friends who gamble, having parents who gamble, and screen time. Of these factors, the social influences of peers and parents have been named as both risk and protective factors in the transition from social casino gaming to monetary gambling in existing path models . Specifically, while the monitoring of adolescent social casino gaming by parents has been identified as a protective factor that inhibits the transition from SCG play to monetary gambling, peer pressure to gamble and the modeling of irresponsible gambling behaviour by parents have been classified as catalysts in this same transition. Based on the present results, existing path models may wish to expand their scope to include the socioeconomic status and health behaviours of players to provide a more comprehensive overview of the manner in which SCG play and monetary gambling may be linked. At the same time, future studies of SCG play and monetary gambling may wish to examine additional factors related to these activities, as identified in existing path models.