Online gambling is a relatively new form of entertainment. Although largely automated, Internet gambling offers speed, ease, and a variety of betting options. Despite the popularity, little is known about the connection between internet gambling and problem behaviors.
The most popular reason for internet gambling is its convenience. Gamblers can place bets on sports, games of chance, casinos, or virtual poker from the comfort of their own homes. As a result, more people are playing these games. However, the availability of the game also means more people are at risk for problems with the activity.
For example, in a survey of 1119 internet gamblers, a high percentage reported higher rates of alcohol and drug use, smoking, and disability. Additionally, more than half reported that they had suffered from gambling-related problems prior to engaging in online gambling. Despite this, a majority of gamblers still report that the practice is not their primary source of entertainment.
There is a lot of debate as to the best method for addressing the question of whether online gambling is a cause of gambling problems. Some researchers have focused on analyzing the amount of time and money spent in the game, while others have studied the prevalence of problem gamblers.
In the past fifteen years, the introduction of the internet has had a profound effect on the way gambling is done. Many states are wary of the potential for Internet gambling to bring illegal betting into their jurisdictions.