n 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.
He said that while it is an open question whether the commission has jurisdiction over social gaming, members should become knowledgeable about the topic.
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 spoke 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.