Online Gamling is one of the fastest-growing segments of Internet gambling. Hundreds of web sites now offer wagering on casino games, sports events, and other activities. According to research firms, this industry is expected to pull in $1.5 billion worldwide this year alone.
Lawmakers were not slow to take note of the proliferation of this activity and in 2006 passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to transfer American customers’ funds to online gambling sites. As a result, PartyPoker, the largest player in this market, went dark for US customers.
In addition, several states regulated the practice of online gambling through the establishment of regulatory agencies. These agencies are responsible for regulating and licensing operators and ensuring that all transactions and betting are fair, safe and secure.
Some of these regulations include a variety of minimum deposit amounts and limits on how much money can be wagered at any time. They also require that players only use funds they can afford to lose.
Increasingly, gamblers are seeking out online sites that offer bonuses. These can be as large as 5% to 20% of the initial deposit. These can be used to increase the chances of winning or to reward repeated business.
Other sites offer prizes like trips and hotel accommodations in return for wagering a certain amount. These may be mailed to winners or deposited into their online accounts.
These types of incentives are often offered to lure new members to their site. In turn, the incentive increases the likelihood that these players will remain on the site and continue to gamble.
This can be very beneficial for both the gambling operator and the gambler. However, it also creates a risk of over-involvement, which can lead to impulsivity and irrational behaviour.
A recent study of UK residents has found that the more involved a person is with gambling, the more likely they are to develop problems. This was supported by a study that examined the relationships between behavioural and self-report data from online gamblers.
The researchers used a screen-out question similar to those in a previous study of Swedish online gamblers, with respondents categorized as no risk, low risk, moderate risk, or problem gambling. For each gambling type, participants were asked how often they had gambled during the past year.
In addition to the screening question, demographic data were collected including age and gender. Living conditions were recorded, such as if they lived alone or had children and whether they worked or studied. The responses were analyzed for trends and differences in gamblers with different gambling patterns.
Those who had gambled for a long time were more likely to report a history of problem gambling and more often reported that their gambling had caused other problems. They were also more likely to report having a gambling-related disability or a mental health disorder and to have a family history of gambling problems.