CHILDREN exposed to simulated gambling games will be protected from the risk of gambling addictions if a regulation push by a senator is accepted in parliament.
Southern Cross University Gambling, Education and Research Centre researcher Dr Sally Gainsbury said the issue was about online gambling games, which require money to play, but do not pay dollar returns.
She said the games could have high payout rates and depict gambling as a fun activity, and may encourage children and adolescents to gamble now, or later in life.
South Australian Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will next month try to amend the legal loophole that excludes such games from online gambling regulations.
Tasmanian Greens MHA Kim Booth said he supported any move to protect children from the harm associated with gambling.
"You wouldn't even contemplate allowing children unfettered access to a casino or pokie venue. Why would you allow their home to be turned into a virtual pokie den, and allow children to be groomed for addiction?" Mr Booth said.
"This is another insidious branch of the poker gambling industry, trying to create further addictive gambling products."
Dr Gainsbury said regulation was difficult because simulated gambling games were hard to define, and research into their impact was lacking.
She called upon the gaming industry to provide information on who, and how many people were playing their games.
"We know that early exposure to gambling is a risk factor. Simulated gambling might have the same impact," she said.
"We call for the gaming industry to show the information about their users, with respect to individual privacy, to give us a better idea of what type of people are playing the games."
She said a lack of evidence should not be used to delay regulation.