The Internet has transformed the way people engage in gambling. It offers more betting products, greater convenience and faster feedback. Many jurisdictions are legalizing or regulating online gambling. However, little evidence exists that internet gambling has a causal connection to problems with gambling.
As the Internet is becoming increasingly prevalent, it is important to understand how to integrate gambling activities from the physical world with the electronic one. A key question to answer is whether or not there is a link between pathological Internet use and problem gambling.
Some research has found that there is a causal link between problem gambling and the Internet, but the study is limited in its scope and the results are mixed. While many studies are cross-sectional and don’t account for the context of internet gambling in a longitudinal setting, a few have looked at problem gamblers and online gambling sites to compare the effects of Internet gambling with self-report of problem gambling. In general, Internet gambling participation is associated with increased odds of problem gambling, although it is not necessarily a predictive indicator.
Although there is not a clear consensus about the prevalence of problem gambling, a recent survey found that 16 percent of Internet gamblers have a gambling problem. Among these, the majority attributed their problem to land-based forms of gambling, such as casinos and poker rooms. Additionally, most participants believed that Internet gambling is more addictive than land-based gambling. Despite this, some Internet problem gamblers report having a problem before they began playing the Internet, suggesting that there may be a preexisting condition.
Online gambling has become the fastest growing form of gambling. Although it is not legal in most states, it is regulated by many countries. One of the first online venues for general public users was the Liechtenstein International Lottery. Today, the market is growing and more jurisdictions are recognizing the benefits of regulating gambling.
Internet gambling can be a risky proposition, but it can also provide a wide range of benefits. Some Internet gamblers find that they can access larger amounts of money than they could with conventional gambling. Another advantage is that Internet gambling is relatively fast and convenient, allowing users to place bets and receive feedback without leaving the comfort of their home. Nonetheless, a lack of regulatory oversight can lead to excessive use of the Internet and increase the risk of addiction.
There have been a few attempts to enforce federal laws against online gambling. However, these efforts have met with limited success. For example, the United States government has taken action against the online poker operator K23 Group Financial Services for violations of 18 U.S.C. 1955. The case focuses on money laundering, but the statute covers more than that.
In addition, a number of state officials have expressed concern that the Internet can bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. This has led to an effort to restrict access to financial instruments from the Internet for illegal bets. But this is unlikely to curb illegal gambling on the Internet.