Online gambling offers consumers convenience and a wide range of betting products. It is often thought that the advent of this form of gambling will increase the prevalence of disordered gamblers. However, there is still limited evidence to support this belief. This paper aims to review research on online gambling and problem gambling and provide an overview of some of the most recent findings.
Internet gambling has been the fastest growing form of gambling. In recent years, a number of jurisdictions have legalized and regulated Internet gambling. The availability of this form of gambling has changed the way gamblers engage with their games. Compared to land-based forms of gambling, Internet gambling is more convenient, faster, and provides greater value for money. Moreover, it allows for large wagers. Gambling on the internet has been linked to excessive and pathological use. Although little research has been conducted on the link between Internet gambling and gambling problems, the literature indicates that it is highly probable that a higher proportion of gamblers will have problems.
Problem gambling is defined as a persistent pattern of loss, risk of injury, or other harm arising from gambling. It is important to distinguish between problem and non-problem gamblers. Generally, problem gamblers have a high rate of involvement in Internet gambling. However, not all highly involved gamblers are at risk for gambling problems.
While many studies have been conducted on Internet gambling, most have focused on cross-sectional or longitudinal data. There is much to learn from this type of research. For example, it is likely that the next generation of gamblers will begin using Internet modes of gambling early in their gambling careers. Therefore, it is important to consider how to best integrate this behavior with offline gambling.
Several federal statutes have been implicated by illegal Internet gambling. These include the Travel Act, the Wire Act, and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). As well, federal law reinforces state law in cases. Interestingly, some of the most controversial statutes have been challenged on constitutional grounds. A number of attacks have been made on the basis of the Commerce Clause. However, these have enjoyed little success.
UIGEA contains factors to distinguish between low-level gambling cases. The law provides for age verification, location verification, and appropriate data security standards. Also, the law allows for an exclusion of financial transaction providers. Despite these provisions, some argue that the law has not sufficiently weeded out low-level gambling cases.
The DSM-5 includes a new category of disordered gambling called “Internet Gaming Disorder.” Researchers have identified some links between disordered gambling and Internet gambling. Some have also found a relationship between problem gambling and the format of a game.
The most common advantage associated with Internet gambling is its accessibility. Many users have reported that they are able to bet quickly and easily. Whether this is a positive or negative factor is unclear. Regardless, the ease of acquiring money via the Internet has been a major factor in the rise of problem gambling.