The Hidden Risks of Online Gamling

Online Gamling is a form of gambling that involves wagering on a game using the internet. Despite the popularity of this activity, it is important for gamblers to understand the hidden risks of online gaming and how to mitigate them. This includes avoiding online casinos that are not licensed by regulators and only betting what they can afford to lose. Gamblers should also take extra precautions to protect their identity and financial information when registering with online gaming websites. Lastly, they should seek help from mental health professionals if they suspect that they have a gambling disorder.

Unlike land-based gambling establishments, online gaming is highly accessible, often offering free bets or other incentives to lure players into spending money they can’t afford to lose. It is also less regulated and therefore more vulnerable to fraud, which can have severe consequences for the player and their family. Moreover, the ease with which a gambler can access a gaming site can lead to compulsive behavior and an increase in betting frequency. This is especially true for people with a history of gambling addiction.

While online gambling has gained popularity worldwide, it is still a relatively new industry. Its revenue has increased rapidly since its inception, reaching over US$33 billion by 2018. Its rapid expansion is partially due to the fact that people are increasingly relying on technology for their entertainment and recreation needs. However, the industry faces many challenges and is still under-researched.

Some studies have compared problem gamblers with nonproblem gamblers and have used cross-sectional designs, which do not allow for causal inferences and rely on self-reporting (Braverman & Shaffer, 2012; Dufour et al, 2013; Granero et al, 2020). In contrast, others have focused on the proximal causes of problems, with the majority of problem gamblers reporting that they started gambling online and around half specifically attributing their problems to this mode of gambling (Brodeur & Stevens, 2021).

The development of games that incorporate behavioural features, such as a stop-loss function or a behavioral warning system, may help reduce online gambling-related harms. However, further research is needed to identify and test these mechanisms. Furthermore, there is a need to further explore the role of individual risk factors, such as personality and family history.

The most effective treatment for online gambling addiction is psychotherapy. During sessions, the therapist can address deeper emotional issues that may be amplifying the patient’s addictive behaviour. This can be done individually or in group therapy. Ultimately, the goal is to develop healthy coping strategies that will help to alleviate addictive cravings and restore the gambler’s well-being.