Children should be banned from playing online games such as Candy Crush to prevent them from becoming problem gamblers when they are older, a leading expert has said.

Professor Mark Griffiths warns that the apps give youngsters a taste for betting even if no money is involved, because of ‘simulated’ gambling that enables players to win add-ons to help them progress.

Candy Crush games — which have been downloaded more than 2.7 billion times — include a wheel of fortune-style feature that awards extra moves or other in-game goodies.

Prof Griffiths, who is director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, said: “If there is a simulated roulette wheel in a game like Candy Crush, those games should be for adults only, because of the research showing that simulated games are a risk factor for problem gambling.”

Last week the Gambling Commission revealed that 39 per cent of 11- to 16-year-olds spent money on gambling. Jo Twist, chief executive of the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, said: “The industry takes very seriously its responsibility towards people who play games, particularly children.”

However, what is baffling is that these gaming “experts” completely fail to mention the rise of games like Fortnite which has eclipsed all other game downloads and now has a stranglehold over the iTunes App Store.

After being released onto Apple’s mobile platform last month, the game has grossed more than $A20.78 million worldwide and has been downloaded more than 11 million times, according to app-tracking website SensorTower.

The revenue generated by Fortnite, which also has a monetized component, is currently dwarfing the likes of popular games such as Candy Crush Saga.

So, “experts” think a wheel spin should be banned because it is harmful to children, but don’t address games that involve shooting, killing, maiming and destruction with the aim of the game to be “last man standing” – after you have annihilated all other players?

As a parent, what game would you prefer your children play?

Source: The Daily Telegraph