Problem Gambling – Online Gamling

Online Gamling is one of the most rapidly growing industries. It is largely unregulated, under-researched and is estimated to produce over US$33 billion in revenue each year. The rapid rise of this industry has resulted in new and serious problems for many individuals, including addiction, debt, family breakdown, involvement in illegal behaviour, and a range of psychological difficulties. Unlike traditional gambling venues, Internet gambling is constantly available and accessible through various devices (e.g. computers, mobile phones and tablets). This constant availability can lead to disrupted sleeping and eating patterns and contribute to poorer general health.

A common feature of online gamblers is the high rate of substance misuse, both whilst and away from gambling. This can be related to the relative anonymity of online gambling and the difficulty in identifying problem behaviours and resolving them. Additionally, the use of electronic payments can increase opportunities for excessive spending.

A few studies have compared the characteristics of online nonproblematic and problematic gamblers with those of offline nonproblematic and problematic gamblers. It is important to note that most of these comparisons are cross-sectional, meaning they do not allow for causality to be established, and rely on self-report, which is prone to bias and error. However, the results of these studies suggest that a number of factors distinguish online at-risk from nonproblematic gamblers, and that some of these could be used to identify these gamblers in advance, in order to take preventative action to reduce their potential for harm.