Gambling is defined as wagering something of value on a random event. The term includes all forms of gambling that have a prize, a risk element, and a reward. However, some types of gambling are considered to be unsustainable or disordered.
Internet-based gambling threatens to bring gambling directly into homes and businesses. The Internet is used in various gambling forms, such as sports betting, poker, and online casinos. It has become increasingly popular in recent years. Although most online gambling operators move their business offshore to avoid US federal laws, some states are beginning to legalize internet gambling. A growing number of jurisdictions recognize the benefits of regulation, which may include consumer protection and taxation revenue.
Recent research suggests that Internet gamblers are at increased risk for problem gambling. These gamblers are likely to report more involvement with the Internet than low-involvement gamblers. In addition, the emergence of gambling problems may be associated with game-specific characteristics.
One way to assess a gambler’s involvement with gambling is to use a self-report screen. This is subject to bias and reporting is not always accurate. Another approach to measuring involvement is to analyze an online database of real-time player accounts. Using this technique, researchers can detect a gambler’s pattern of play. They can also use targeted notifications based on patterns of play.
Researchers have studied both land-based and online gambling, but they have not fully developed theoretical models for predicting gambling problems. Those models rely on the presence of three elements in a gambler’s behavior: risk, reward, and luck. While these factors may be important in the development of disordered gambling, they are not sufficient to predict whether a particular person will develop a gambling problem.
As gambling becomes more prevalent in the United States, research will need to continue in order to understand the effect of Internet-based gambling. There are several theories as to why Internet-based gambling may lead to gambling problems. Some believe that gambling problems are a result of a person’s addiction to online games. Others suggest that a gambler’s gambling habits are a reflection of their personality. Still others suggest that a gambler’s gambling behavior is a result of a person’s socialization with other gamblers.
Most researchers have studied Internet-based gambling using a single data set from an European gambling site. However, these findings are limited because of the lack of a diverse set of player accounts. Additionally, most research has been done in cross-sectional fashion.
To better understand gambling problems, a multi-stage approach is needed. Longitudinal research is required to develop a comprehensive understanding of gambling problems and how they might be prevented. Research should also consider how to integrate the Internet-based gambling behavior of an individual with that of an offline gambling behavior. Despite these limitations, it is likely that a burgeoning number of Internet-based gamblers will develop gambling problems.
While it is possible to identify pathological Internet gamblers through a simple self-report screen, it is not always the case. An analysis of the data from online gamblers’ accounts can provide information about the specific characteristics of gamblers at risk for gambling problems.