Problem Gambling and Online Gamling

Online Gamling

Online Gambling has grown in popularity and can be found across the web. It includes sports wagering, fantasy sports, keno and casino games like poker and blackjack. It also includes online lotteries and iLottery games. It is important to note that this type of gambling should be undertaken responsibly as it can lead to addiction. It is also essential that the appropriate tools and support services are in place to help with any problem gambling. There are several different resources available to those suffering from addiction, including GamCare.

The growth of Online Gamling has been accelerated by the development of smartphones and mobile apps that make it easier to use on the go. The growth of online gambling has not been without controversy, however. In 2006, the federal government passed a law known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which made it illegal for gaming companies to accept bets from the internet. This caused many large online casinos and poker sites to shut down in the US. However, the UIGEA did not include a prohibition on betting on sports events and contests which led to the creation of new online casinos and poker sites that offered wagers on these events.

Although some Internet gamblers report problems with their gambling, research is limited and most studies are cross-sectional in design, making it difficult to establish causality. Furthermore, most studies examining relationships between problem gambling and Internet gambling are self-report, and this data can be inaccurate and unreliable. Additionally, most Internet gambling sites do not allow users to exclude themselves from their site, limiting the effectiveness of self-exclusion programmes.

While most non-treatment seeking Internet gamblers reported no harmful effects of changed access to online gambling, a small number of these individuals described negative consequences such as escalating losses and a loss of control. A few non-treatment-seeking Internet gamblers also reported that the increased accessibility of online gambling resulted in disruption of their sleep and eating patterns.

There is a growing recognition that Internet gambling gamblers are a heterogeneous group and that studies must focus on identifying early risk indicators, as well as the ways in which online and offline behaviours are integrated. This will require cooperation between independent researchers to design and evaluate harm minimisation measures, online operators to allow the sharing of user information for this purpose and regulators to ensure that such measures are implemented. Longitudinal research will also be an important addition to this area of study. In the meantime, a variety of short online interventions and in-depth online treatment programmes are available to those who may be at risk. It is hoped that these approaches can improve responsible gambling and reduce gambling-related harms.

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