The growth of internet gambling has changed the way gamblers engage with gambling. With the availability of high speed internet connections, bets can be placed and accepted with ease. There are also a wide range of betting products available, and the ability to place and receive bets from anywhere in the world. Internet gambling is rapidly expanding, with an increasing number of jurisdictions legalizing and regulating the industry.
Although the legality of internet gambling in the United States remains an open question, it appears that the benefits of the industry outweigh the negatives. For example, some argue that the commercial nature of the industry will serve as a deterrent to illegal activity. Others argue that regulation is beneficial in that it can generate taxation revenue and enhance consumer protection. As a result, more jurisdictions are recognizing the advantages of regulation.
However, there is little proof to suggest that internet gambling is a safe or healthy activity. Research shows that a high proportion of internet gamblers have gambling problems. These gamblers are more likely to have a problem with alcohol, drugs, and other activities relating to gambling. Moreover, internet gambling may be associated with increased disordered behavior. Some studies have even linked online gambling to a plethora of other psychological and behavioral disorders.
In terms of the most important benefits of internet gambling, users report that they are able to place bets more easily and are able to get more money. Internet platforms also enable consumers to enjoy their favorite recreational activities. Additionally, the most common reported advantage is the convenience of betting from the comfort of their homes.
In the United States, federal laws have been cited in cases involving illegal Internet gambling. For instance, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was invoked in a recent case against the owners of the Internet poker site, K23 Group Financial Services, and the payment processor, PayPal. A federal marshal seized $3.2 million from Discovery Communications, which had accepted ads for Tropical Paradise, a Costa Rican casino operation.
One interesting fact is that the rate of problem gambling is higher among Internet gamblers than those that participate in land-based games. Among the more esoteric statistics is that about half of Australian gamblers blame their gambling problems on land-based electronic gaming machines, while the other half point the finger at online casinos.
On the other hand, no single index can predict the degree to which an individual may be at risk for problem gambling. However, the DSM-5 Taskforce has suggested that further research is needed into the subject. To date, most research has been conducted in a cross-sectional fashion, which does not reveal the prevalence or impact of the problem. Several studies have used self-report to estimate a gambling problem rate, but this is reliant on accurate reporting.
Other studies have used a more sophisticated method, examining gambling patterns over a period of twelve months, to try to identify gamblers who may be at risk. This research was accompanied by a more robust study of the online gambling industry, to assess the most popular types of sites and the most popular gambling activities.