Internet Gambling, or e-gambling, is the act of placing bets or wagers via the internet. It’s facilitated by sites that allow users to place wagers on sports or other events. Sites generally require an account or credit card information to deposit funds and make withdrawals. Some sites provide a variety of betting options, while others specialize in a single type.
While online gambling can be a boon, it can also be detrimental. The popularity of Internet gambling during the 1990s led to an unregulated boom that crashed in the waning months of the decade. Consequently, government regulators began to look into the regulations surrounding the internet gambling industry. However, in the absence of a comprehensive set of laws and regulations, Internet operators could operate in any offshore jurisdiction, effectively circumventing government oversight.
For example, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 was a showpiece law, but it remains a talking point today. This legislation made it illegal to gamble on the Internet. In response, the United States Department of Justice and the State of California worked together to create a set of guidelines to regulate Internet gaming. The result was the passing of House Bill 29 in late December. Since then, Ohio has been working toward offering more robust Internet gaming options.
Researchers have also studied the relationship between Internet gambling and problem gambling. Although research findings indicate that overall involvement in the online gambling industry does not predict a problem, there are some key factors to consider.
In a study of internet gamblers, researchers found that the most important indicator of an Internet gambler’s problem was the extent of their gambling activity in the past 12 months. Interestingly, there was a correlation between this number and the amount of money gamblers spent on the online site. Despite this correlation, it may not be the best measure of an individual’s involvement, as it did not account for the number of games played and the amount of time that they spent at the site.
Another study from the UK found that online gambling was less likely to be considered a problem than a similar measure taken from the land-based gambling sector. Still, the same report indicated that people with problems attributed them more often to land-based forms of gambling than to online versions.
One of the first states to legalize online casino and poker gaming was Delaware. But, while the state made a splash, it was Nevada that made history. The state was the first to introduce an Internet-based sports betting option. New Jersey, meanwhile, introduced one of the largest and most competitive online casino markets in the country. A major court case that arose out of this debate came to a head in May. As a result, both New Jersey and Nevada have re-introduced online gambling regulation into their state codes, a move that may encourage other states to follow suit.
There is no one single best way to avoid a gambling problem. For those at risk, treatment and prevention strategies should be reviewed.