The Growing Problem of Online Gambling

Online Gamling

Online gambling involves the use of computers to place bets or play casino games. It is similar to offline gambling but is available 24 hours a day. Some examples of online gambling are sports betting, keno, and casino games such as poker and roulette. Online gambling is a fast growing industry and is relatively under-researched, with most studies focusing on the impact of regulation.

Despite the growth of online gaming, only a small fraction of the world’s gambling market is devoted to it. It is estimated that it accounts for only about 2% of total global gaming revenue, with the rest being conducted at land-based casinos and in horse race betting. Regardless of the size of the industry, there are several major challenges associated with its growth. These include legal and regulatory issues, safety and security concerns, and a lack of consumer awareness.

Most of the research examining unhealthy behaviors focuses on adolescents, as preventing the uptake of a behavior is one of the most cost-effective approaches to avoiding addictive behaviours (Choliz & Saiz-Ruiz, 2016; Escario & Wilkinson, 2018). Nevertheless, adults are also at risk of developing an unhealthy habit when they start playing online gambling games, especially if they do so at the age of 16 or 17. Although many people believe that the Internet makes it easy for teenagers to gamble without supervision, this is not necessarily true. In fact, the number of online gamblers in their teens has dropped since 2008 and is now below 20%, according to the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Online gamblers can access sites using a variety of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. Some websites require players to download software on their computer while others are accessible directly from the Web. The latter are particularly popular among young people and may feature high-technology software that allows users to interact with the game in virtual reality.

While the majority of states have legalized some form of online gambling, there are still two holdouts: Utah and Hawaii. The former is home to a large Mormon population, and its residents generally feel that the activity harms family relations and community spirit. The latter has no interest in widening its legal framework to allow online gambling.

It is difficult to determine whether problems with gambling are caused by or exacerbated by online gaming because most studies are cross-sectional and self-reported. However, for some problem gamblers, this mode of gambling appears to be the proximal cause of their problems, with around half specifically attributing them to Internet gaming.

Online discussion forums have been shown to be a useful tool for helping people overcome problem gambling. Bradley and James analyzed posts on two online gambling help forums to investigate how they could be used to encourage recovery. They found that participants who participated in these forums were more satisfied with their lives than those who did not participate, suggesting that these forums provide a valuable support system for gamblers.