Online Gamling is an activity that is growing rapidly in popularity. While there are many different types of gambling sites, they all require a computer with Internet access. Users can choose between a selection of “instant” games, or play a game through a download software client. Most sites offer the option of setting loss limits and a self-exclusion program. However, there are few online operators that have implemented strategies for identifying risky players.
Problem gambling has been associated with excessive gambling, with some studies indicating that the problem gambler is more likely to engage in various risk-taking behaviors. Some of these risk-taking behaviors may be related to impulsivity. The internet provides the ability for continuous gambling, as well as large wagers. For some individuals, the experience of online gambling may be more addictive than traditional gambling.
One study analyzed the prevalence of problem gambling in the United Kingdom. It found that 6 % of the population had used the Internet for gambling. Of those who used the Internet for gambling, 62 % reported having a problem, and 50 % reported that their problem was the result of internet gambling. Additionally, the problem gambling participants were more likely to have a disability, alcohol use, smoking, and drug abuse.
Another study looked at the impact of online gambling on problem gamblers. The researchers used a sample of 1119 Internet gamblers to assess the extent to which they engaged in problem gambling behaviors. Results suggested that Internet problem gamblers were more likely to be engaging in risk-taking behaviors and had higher rates of drinking, smoking, and drug use than non-problem gamblers. They also indicated that a significant portion of problem gamblers were involved in land-based forms of gambling prior to engaging in internet gambling.
Several of the factors that exacerbated the problem gambling problems of Internet gamblers were related to the gambling format. In particular, gamblers involved in poker, blackjack, and slot machine activities were more likely to report problems. Also, illicit drug use was a major predictor of problem gambling.
Although Internet gambling is legal in the United States, it is not yet legal in all territories. In addition, the morality of the activity is a topic of contention. Laws need to be adapted to meet the challenges of new technology. There are also issues surrounding the tax revenue that is generated through gambling. Government agencies are often slow to adapt to new technological developments. Consequently, some states have passed legislation on online gambling, while others have taken a more conservative approach.
Research must continue to examine the impact of internet gambling on problem gamblers. This requires cooperation among regulators, independent researchers, and online operators. Further investigation is necessary to determine the best treatment and prevention strategies for the Internet. Among the various factors that should be considered are a person’s impulsivity, the specific characteristics of the gambling game, and the amount of involvement in the gambling activity.
Ultimately, regulation of the Internet is important to ensure that it serves as a responsible environment for all. A few Internet operators have already started to develop programs to identify risky players. However, these measures are not sufficient.