Online Gamling and Gambling Disorders
Online Gamling is a growing industry that allows users to place bets from the comfort of their home. While this is convenient, it can also lead to an addiction. It’s important to know the warning signs of online gambling addiction, so you can seek help when needed. You can contact a Gamblers Anonymous hotline to find help.
While gambling is legal in some form in nearly all states, it is still a very dangerous activity. For example, gambling has been linked to drug abuse and suicide, and it can lead to domestic violence. In addition, it can have a negative effect on family and social relationships. For this reason, it’s important to educate children and young people about the dangers of online gambling.
The proliferation of the Internet in the 2000s led to a boom in online casinos and gambling websites. Many states legalized this type of gambling in the 2010s, and it’s now a multibillion dollar industry. However, the laws surrounding online gambling have not kept pace with new technology. As such, some states continue to ban online gambling entirely, while others only regulate certain types of gambling.
In the past decade, the provision of online gambling has intensified through greater access, enhanced betting markets, a wider product range, and prolific marketing. However, little research has explored how these changes are influencing contemporary gambling experiences and behaviours. This study utilised semi-structured telephone interviews with 19 non-treatment-seeking and 10 treatment-seeking online gamblers to explore how the increased availability of Internet gambling had influenced their experiences and behaviour. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
Both groups reported that increased Internet gambling was facilitated by the availability of 24/7 betting opportunities without the constraints of venue opening times or social judgment, and that faster financial transactions facilitated impulsive betting. However, treatment-seekers also reported that the ease of depositing funds to betting accounts contributed to persistence and loss-chasing, and that difficulties withdrawing and the ability for betting sites to cancel withdrawals undermined self-control.
In the context of these findings, consumer protection needs to extend beyond harm minimisation tools and incorporate a focus on safer online gambling products and industry practices. Furthermore, longitudinal research is required to further understand the impact of changing online gambling environments on the incidence of gambling disorders. This would be a crucial step in developing evidence for the inclusion of disordered gambling within the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a non-substance behavioural addiction. This will be an important step in demonstrating that online gambling is not simply an extension of offline gambling behaviours, but rather has a distinct mode of access and behavioural characteristics. This will provide an opportunity to better inform interventions that target problem gamblers in this population. In addition, it will support the development of more accurate models of behavioural addiction and inform research into other types of behavioural addictions. This is particularly relevant given that online behavioural addictions appear to be developing a similar pattern of risk-taking and impulsivity as substances.