Online gambling is any form of gambling conducted online, including virtual poker, casinos and sports betting. It is a lucrative industry and a major source of harm to vulnerable people.
Many people who gamble online do so responsibly but, as with any other activity, there are a small number of problem gamers. They may be addicted to the activity, or have underlying psychological or behavioural problems such as poor impulse control.
Gambling is a serious and addictive addiction and it is important to understand the risks associated with gambling. There are support services available in the UK, but it is also important to play at reputable sites that have the appropriate licensing to run an online casino.
The popularity of online gambling has increased dramatically in recent years. It is estimated that over seven hundred websites offer the opportunity to place bets on games of all kinds.
Some of these sites are legitimate and regulated by the gambling regulatory body in your state. Others are not regulated and operate from offshore jurisdictions. These unregulated websites could be the source of financial fraud and criminal activities such as money laundering.
In addition, some sites are not safe for minors or vulnerable people. They can be a gateway to illegal gambling and provide a route to substance abuse and other problem behaviours such as self-harm.
Research has shown that there are a range of behavioural indicators that can predict problem gambling and that these can be used to help reduce the harms experienced by Internet gamblers. However, detecting these early risk indicators is not easy and requires algorithms that are able to identify interactions between a variety of different behavioural indicators.
These are particularly important when it comes to young people and those with underlying mental health issues. There is a strong link between gambling problems and psychosocial comorbidities such as depression and impulsivity, which can have negative impacts on the functioning of individuals.
Researchers have also shown that there is a strong relationship between the extent of involvement in Internet gambling and problem gambling. Those who have a high level of involvement are more likely to experience gambling problems than those with a low involvement level.
This relationship is largely driven by the fact that problem gamblers are likely to engage with Internet modes earlier in their gambling careers than non-problem gamblers. In contrast to a previous study that focused on a single dataset from one European operator, this study has explored the breadth and depth of involvement in an online database of real-world gamblers, providing evidence that a higher degree of involvement is linked to problem gambling.
The findings of this study suggest that a combination of changes in operator practices and the environment have impacted on the gambling experiences and behaviours reported by treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking online gamblers. These changes include: Increased availability of online and mobile access More rapid access to bets Increased betting markets Broader product range More incentivised marketing Widening array of complex bets with poor odds