Internet gambling is one of the fastest growing forms of gambling. This is largely facilitated by technological advances, such as the availability of high speed internet connections. It allows for large wagers, rapid feedback, and easy access to a wide range of betting options. However, it also has the potential to cause problems. Gambling involves various types of activities, such as bookmaking, lotteries, sports betting, casino games, and virtual poker. Some studies have found links between excessive or pathological online gambling and other problems.
Although little research exists on the connection between problem gambling and internet gaming, researchers are investigating this phenomenon. In order to understand the connection between internet gambling and problems, it is important to examine the characteristics of problem gamblers. Generally, gamblers are divided into a heterogeneous group, depending on their involvement with gambling and the types of gambling they engage in. Problem gamblers are more likely to have higher alcohol and drug usage rates, as well as higher rates of self-harm.
Researchers have investigated the relationship between gambling and problem gambling using a cross-sectional approach. They have found that a significant proportion of Internet gamblers report problems before they engage in online gambling. Among those who engage in Internet gambling, approximately 16 percent are classified as problem gamblers. While this may seem low, this number does not represent a full spectrum of Internet gamblers. Other problem gamblers may have previously suffered from gambling-related issues, but do not engage in the gambling activity.
A more recent study, conducted by LaPlante and colleagues, looked at problem gambling in the British population. The authors surveyed 1119 gamblers about their habits. They found that those who engaged in Internet gambling had a greater rate of drinking, smoking, and drinking and driving, as well as a higher rate of problem gambling. Those who participated in land-based electronic gaming machines were also more likely to have problem gambling.
The researchers also studied self-reported data and compared it to surveys of Internet gambling sites. Among those who gambled on the Internet, a majority reported being more involved in the activity than those who did not. These findings may provide a basis for further research. One possible reason is that internet gamblers are more likely to have access to a wider array of wagering opportunities, and therefore, may be more inclined to participate in disordered and risky behavior.
In addition, it is important to evaluate the effect of technology and the convenience of online gambling on problem gambling. Increasing numbers of jurisdictions are legalizing Internet gambling, and regulating it could help to increase consumer protection and taxation revenue. Nevertheless, there are concerns that online gambling could bring illegal gambling into jurisdictions.
Moreover, there are some federal criminal statutes that are implicated in Internet gambling. These include Section 1956, which creates laundering for law enforcement stings, to conceal illicit activities, and for international purposes. Additionally, the Travel Act applies to players who engage in interstate facilities for unlawful activities.