Online Gamling

Online Gamling is gambling on online games of chance where a person can win or lose real money. This includes a wide variety of games such as poker, lottery-type games and horse racing betting. In the United States, the first online casinos and sports bets began in 1996. The industry has grown rapidly since then. Online gaming companies are regulated by state and national regulations. They also must be licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

A small number of studies have used representative samples of adolescent Internet gamblers to evaluate the prevalence of pathological gambling and disordered online gambling. These studies have reported a range of results but there is considerable heterogeneity in the methodology (sample size, measurement instruments and cut-off points) that limits the generalizability of their findings. It is recommended that further research be undertaken to develop psychometrically valid tools to assess different levels of problematic online gambling in adolescent populations using clinical ‘gold standard’ diagnostic criteria.

Amongst these, the development of an online self-exclusion programme that would allow individuals to identify and control their access to specific sites should be high on the agenda. In addition, treatment and prevention strategies need to be revisited to ensure that these are suitable for Internet gamblers.

The current evidence suggests that there are a wide range of harmful effects associated with online gambling. Some of these are physical such as a loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, sleep disturbances and lowered immunity, while others are psychological and may trigger or worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety and personality disorders. Consistent involvement in online gambling activities may also cause financial problems and feelings of regret or guilt, and may result in less time being spent on family and recreational activities.