Internet gambling refers to a range of gaming activities, including virtual poker, casinos and sports betting. It is facilitated by the widespread use of the internet, with the convenience of betting from home. The rapid growth of internet gambling has altered the way gamblers engage in the activity.
Many studies have focused on the potential for online gambling to increase the rates of problem gambling. While it has been suggested that Internet gambling may be a factor, there has been little evidence to back this up.
Recent research has indicated that Internet gamblers are a heterogeneous group. Some are at risk for problem gambling, while others may have already experienced problems before engaging in the activity.
Studies of Internet gambling have been conducted both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Most studies, however, are not complete. They are too small to provide reliable information about the rate of disordered gambling. A comprehensive review of the research to date was undertaken in order to identify key trends and areas of interest.
Despite the lack of conclusive data, there is increasing recognition of the benefits of regulation. It can protect consumers and generate taxation revenue. In the past 15 years, the growth of online gambling has altered the gambling environment.
An analysis of the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Study found that a higher proportion of problem gamblers engage in Internet gambling. In addition, problem gamblers are more likely to have alcohol, drug, and disability problems.