The Internet has created a unique environment for online gambling. Gambling is a wagering game in which a prize is awarded upon the outcome of a contest of chance. It is a legal activity in most countries. However, many nations have imposed restrictions on the use of the internet for gambling.
In the United States, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act was introduced in the Senate in 1999. It would have prohibited the purchase of lottery tickets, gambling websites and online games. During the late 1990s, a few hundred sites were active. Although these sites were established offshore, they were accessible to anyone with a web browser and credit card.
In 2007, about 6 percent of the British population gambled online. Daily fantasy sports are another popular form of Internet gambling. This type of gambling is season-long and allows players to wager on a variety of sports and other events. Players draft teams and compete against other users. Games can include NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA basketball and baseball.
Problem gambling on the Internet has been linked to a wide range of risk-taking behaviours. Some problem Internet gamblers may have prior gambling problems, while others are at high risk because of their specific circumstances. Another common reason is impulsivity.
Most studies of Internet gambling have primarily investigated cross-sectional models. These studies are often conducted using a single data set, such as a survey of a European gambling site. While these studies are useful for identifying problem gamblers, they don’t necessarily predict problem gambling if the data don’t provide a full picture of the gambler’s life.
Recent research on problem gambling on the Internet has suggested that the causal role of the Internet may be limited to some gamblers. Nevertheless, a growing number of Internet gamblers are at high risk of developing a problem. There is also some evidence to suggest that the frequency of Internet gambling may increase the proportion of gamblers with a gambling problem.
In the past two decades, a number of researchers have examined problem gambling on the Internet. These studies have found that problem gamblers tend to be more involved than non-problem gamblers. For instance, a self-report of gambling problems is more likely to be negative for problem gamblers than for non-problem gamblers. But these findings are based on a single dataset, and therefore may not apply to other types of Internet gamblers.
Another study of Internet gamblers found that the majority of online gamers are likely to play moderately. Among highly involved gamblers, however, a small minority were found to be at high risk for gambling problems. Using a multi-factor risk assessment, researchers found that this group is significantly more at risk than low involvement gamblers.
Researchers should continue to study Internet gamblers and their gambling patterns. They should investigate how Internet gambling relates to their offline gambling, as well as how the Internet is integrated into their offline lives. And they should consider how short online interventions might be helpful.