Is online gambling more addictive? New study investigates
A new study by students at Harvard University has failed to find any hard evidence that online gambling is inherently more addictive than other forms of gambling, the
Mirror reports. In fact, traditional casinos seem to create a lot more addicts than web-based operators.
This research, conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction, surveyed 4,000 online gamblers and found that between 1-5% exhibited “intense gambling behaviour that far exceeded the rest of the sample.”
The researchers concluded that this figure is “in line with most other forms of gambling activity.” Furthermore, two of the survey’s authors have written that instances of gambling addiction have “remained constant for the last thirty-five years, despite the increased accessibility that online casinos offer.”
And there’s no denying that online casinos do a better job of reaching players. From mobile apps to alluring welcome bonuses, casinos know a thing or two about broadening their reach. Despite this prowess, online casinos are not creating that surge of problem gambling that campaigners have warned against.
Of the estimated $475 billion lost to gambling worldwide in 2013, only around 7% went to online casinos, which implies that far more money is lost to traditional forms of gambling than through the internet.
This seemingly debunks the widely-held notion that online gambling is responsible for an explosion in addiction and problem play. The truth is that players are losing a lot less money gambling online than was previously thought.
The researchers have suggested that one possible explanation for this is that the criticism faced by online brands means they are more proactive in pursuing responsible gambling policies. This is in no small way thanks to the far reach of reputable licensing authorities, who take their job of regulating the market very seriously. Brands are regularly audited and any misbehaviour fined or worse.
Tools like age verification, self-exclusion and voluntary loss limits are all useful to players who want to control their gambling. Such possibilities are simply not available in other kinds of betting scenarios. Some brands also do a good job of not just cutting players off but of directing players to resources that could help if they or a loved one may be having problems with gambling.
The convenience and 24/7 accessibility of online casinos seems, on the surface, to have created the perfect breeding ground for the problem gambling epidemic campaigners warned about. It seems however that the data doesn’t quite concur with this view. While online gambling may be easier to access and overindulge in, it is also more tightly regulated than its land-based cousins and it is much easier to find help and support through online sites.
Updated on 5th April 2019