Web gambling doesn't necessarily lead to gambling problem

A NEW research review from Southern Cross University indicates there is little evidence to support the fear that internet gambling may increase the likelihood of gambling problems, although vulnerable gamblers remain most at risk.

The review of existing literature was conducted by Dr Sally Gainsbury from the University's Centre for Gambling Education and Research to provide an overview of significant trends and developments in research relating to problematic internet gambling.

The results were published recently in the paper, Online Gambling Addiction: the Relationship Between Internet Gambling and Disordered Gambling.

"Although studies have found higher rates of gambling problems among internet gamblers, when controlling for overall gambling involvement and intensity, including gambling on land-based forms, participation in internet gambling is not related to gambling problems," Dr Gainsbury said.

"These findings indicate that not all internet gamblers will experience problems.

"But it is important to note that the accessibility of internet gambling, combined with its capacity to spend considerable amounts of time and money, make it a risky activity for vulnerable gamblers.

"For people with gambling problems, internet gambling can worsen these and young males are particularly at risk.

"Government regulators and the gambling industry need to take considerable steps towards increasing the consumer protection measures offered online.

"Establishing universal self-exclusion across gambling sites, promoting self-limit setting and targeted pop-up messages for gamblers may reduce gambling harms.

''New technology is changing the nature of gambling. Many concerns have been expressed about the potential impact of increased use of interactive modes of gambling."

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