Online Gamling is gambling that takes place on the Internet, including online poker and casinos. It is becoming more popular, especially among younger people. The fast pace and instant gratification of online gambling can lead to addiction. Many of the same warning signs that are found in traditional gambling apply to online gambling: the desire to take risks, a rapid build-up of debt, and hiding the behavior from family and friends.
A study conducted by George T. Ladd and Nancy Petry of the University of Connecticut examined patients seeking free health or dental care at a university hospital. They used the South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS), a set of questions that assesses the probability that someone has a gambling problem. The researchers found that Internet gamblers had higher SOGS scores than non-Internet gamblers. Slightly more than 74% of Internet gamblers were rated at Level 2 or 3 on the scale, compared to 21.6% of traditional gamblers.
The study also looked at the economic impact of online gambling. It found that state governments do not receive any licensing fees or tax revenue from online gambling sites, and that they must spend taxpayer money on treatment programs for pathological gamblers. Credit card companies also pass the costs of defending lawsuits against Internet gambling companies on to consumers in the form of higher interest rates and fees.
Some states have passed legislation that makes it illegal for businesses to accept payments from people who are gambling on the Internet. In addition, several major payment processors have stopped handling online gambling transactions. PayPal, for example, stopped processing such payments in November 2002, and Neteller, which was owned by a Canadian company, was shut down in January 2007 after its founders were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.