AUSTRALIA is experiencing a rise in internet gambling according to new research from Southern Cross University and the University of Sydney.
Led by Dr Sally Gainsbury from Southern Cross University's Centre for Gambling Education and Research (CGER), with the assistance of CGER director Prof Nerilee Hing, Prof Alex Blaszczynski from the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney and the University of Lethbridge's Dr Robert Wood, the investigation revealed the convenience and ease of online access were major contributors to the increase of online gambling.
"People appear to be gravitating towards online gambling because of the limited availability, but for people with existing gambling problems, internet gambling may create additional risks," Dr Gainsbury said
"Gambling problems take a while to set in before causing severe consequences. As people continue to play online we may see more problems emerge from this form of gambling."
The findings are part of a survey of more than 6680 internet gamblers in Australia, who took part via an online questionnaire.
Dr Gainsbury said overall the research showed internet gamblers were not more likely to be problem gamblers, although they appeared at higher risk of developing problems.
"Internet gambling poses unique risks to players due to its constant availability," Dr Gainsbury said.
"The main advantages of internet gambling were related to the availability as well as the lack of crowds, unpleasant people and anonymity. This may suggest internet gambling may appeal to those who prefer not to gamble in land-based venues. Internet gamblers may represent a new group of gamblers and venue gamblers may shift to gamble online."