Online Gambling refers to the use of computer technology to place bets on a variety of games of chance. While most people associate this with casino games, it is also common to bet on sports. This is especially popular in the US, where a number of sites specialize in sports betting.
The development of the Internet enabled a variety of operators to set up shop and begin offering gambling services in friendly offshore jurisdictions, bypassing local legal restrictions and making bets available to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. As a result, some countries have begun to regulate online gambling, and the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has classified Internet gaming disorder as the first non-substance behavioural addiction.
A growing number of governments are legalizing and regulating online gambling as part of efforts to reduce the risk of problem gambling and generate taxation revenue. However, a large proportion of the world’s gambling activities still occur in unregulated markets. This is problematic, both because of the potential for problems associated with unregulated gambling and because it undermines efforts to promote responsible gambler behaviour.
Although it is tempting to think that the emergence of online gambling increases the likelihood of gambling problems, research has found that this is not necessarily the case. Rather, the nature of the gambling behaviour and its frequency and depth appear to be more important than the mode of access for the development of gambling problems. Furthermore, studies that have compared behavioural data with self-report screening have found that not all highly involved Internet gamblers screen positive for gambling problems.