Online Gamling and Gambling Disorders

Online Gamling is gambling conducted on the Internet. This includes sports wagering, virtual poker, online lottery tickets, keno and casino games such as roulette and slots. In some cases, these activities may be illegal in certain jurisdictions. The popularity of these sites has prompted concerns that they could contribute to gambling disorders. Unlike traditional casinos, which require players to present themselves in person, online gamblers can use anonymous IDs and can place multiple bets without leaving their homes. These features allow for larger wagers, continuous gambling and the possibility of losing large sums of money in a short period of time. They also lead to disrupted sleeping and eating patterns.

Some studies suggest that Internet gambling is a significant risk factor for gambling problems, with around half of problem gamblers specifically attributing their problems to this mode [57**]. However, most of these studies are cross-sectional and rely on self-reporting, which cannot be used to determine causality or identify early signs of disorder. Furthermore, the vast majority of research has been carried out with data from one European gambling site and thus is unlikely to be generalizable.

A key finding is that breadth of involvement (types of gambling) rather than depth of involvement is predictive of problem behaviour. This is consistent with other findings based on real-world data. However, it also demonstrates that the relationship between the type of gambling and problem behaviour is complex and longitudinal research is needed to understand this further.