For those of us regular gaming followers, the importance of playing responsibly and preventing our children from having a wager on online scratchies or casino games is of paramount importance. While this is not a problem with the regulated online scratch cards industry, there is a rising problem with the unregulated social gaming industry.

The debate of the social gaming market is in the headlines of late. Only a few days ago the Daily Mail in the U.K. ran a story warning about the possible dangers of so called free-to-play social gaming.

The latest player to voice their opinion on this hotly contested subject is that of CEO of British gaming giant William Hill, Ralph Topping. Topping is a veteran in the gambling industry and has over 40 years of experience and as such when he writes an opinion on his personal blog, many stand up and take notice.

The U.K. Government is coming under increasing pressure to regulate the social gaming market as many point it that although the online games are defined as free-to-play and do not fall under the Gambling Act, the reality is that in many instances these games are no less than their real money counterparts.

Topping points out that social gaming already is estimated to be a $1 billion industry and some believe this is a conservative figure. More importantly many companies particularly in the U.S. are concentrating their efforts in social gaming as real money gambling is still not legal in the U.S. in most states.

Topping summed up the realities of the social gaming market succinctly,” Social gaming is no longer the next big thing for gambling, it is already a very big thing.”

Topping points out that currently social gaming is open to anyone including children with no regulations in place. Furthermore there are growing repots of children spending millions of pounds on dealing in these social games with virtual chips and other related real-money purchases offered on these free-to-play sites.

The dangers according to Topping are clear as many unscrupulous operators are exploiting the current legal loophole regarding social gaming. He believes that a responsible approach is needed in order to control and prevent anyone under the age of 18 from playing so called free-to-play social games that are in effect gambling offerings for all intents and purposes.

All the top online scratch cards sites have clear policies of responsible gambling and there is no chance of anyone under the age of 18 being allowed to play any type of online scratch games.  The online  scratchcard industry prides itself on emphasizing well thought out controls which ensure that we adults continue to enjoy our scratch cards while ensuring that underage players remain safe and away from any real-money gambling possibilities.