Internet gambling is a type of gaming that allows the gambler to wager money via the internet. The main advantages of online gambling are speed, convenience and ease of use. However, there is a potential for harm associated with this form of entertainment. This paper provides an overview of the research on the subject. It also highlights recent findings that are of interest to the internet gaming industry.
The DSM-5 includes a new category of non-substance behavioural addiction called Internet Gaming Disorder. A small proportion of Internet gamblers have reported problems with the medium. Some of these problem gamblers may have had previous gambling problems or be at high risk of having a gambling problem. Nonetheless, there is still no evidence to suggest that Internet gambling has a causal role in the onset of gambling problems. Whether a high rate of disordered gambling is a result of increased accessibility, or whether it is a matter of individual factors, is not known.
Research has shown that Internet gamblers are generally heterogeneous. Despite the varying levels of involvement, problem gamblers generally have a higher rate of alcohol consumption, smoking, and disability than non-problem gamblers. Although a single gambling index is not a perfect predictor of problem gambling, a study of internet gambling sites did find a correlation between Internet gambling and self-report of gambling problems. In addition, a large proportion of Internet gamblers report having easier access to their finances than land-based counterparts.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Internet gambling is how it fits into the legal landscape. This question has been raised by state officials who believe that Internet gambling could bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. Federal law reinforces state law in most cases, but questions have been raised regarding its constitutional power. For instance, some have questioned the power of the Commerce Clause, which allows the federal government to regulate the commercial aspects of a given activity.
Some have pointed to the benefits of regulation as the key to increasing consumer protection. Other arguments have been made on the basis of the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech. While these arguments have been successful in some instances, they have had limited success in other situations. Specifically, they do not appear to be effective when financial transactions take place within the United States.
Considering the many benefits that Internet gambling brings to consumers, it is not surprising that a significant number of people have at least one online gambling problem. Problem gamblers are also more likely to report a plethora of other gambling related concerns. Many of these gamblers report that their gambling problems started online. Interestingly, they are less likely to blame their gambling problems on offline gambling, citing a lack of convenience and difficulty in reaching friends and family members.
As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, the number of online gamblers is expected to rise. This increase in numbers may have an impact on the occurrence of disordered gambling. Online platforms, especially those that offer the ability to play games and watch entertainment videos, are becoming increasingly popular.