The Risk of Online Gambling Addiction

Online Gambling

Online Gambling is the use of an internet-connected device to place wagers on casino games, sports events or other gambling activities. It includes betting on sports, fantasy sports, poker, lottery tickets, keno and more. Online Gambling is a multi-billion dollar business and provides a form of entertainment that many people enjoy. However, some people find it hard to control their gambling habits and can become addicted. The risk of online gambling addiction can be high and it’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms.

The emergence of the internet and mobile devices has revolutionised the gambling industry. New technologies allow players to play at their favourite casinos and engage in online gambling 24/7. Online gamblers spend 10% more time playing than traditional gamers. The popularity of online gambling has also influenced the age group, with teenagers increasingly turning to virtual gaming for fun. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in the popularity of online poker, which led to record revenues for the sector.

In addition to the convenience of online gambling, its accessibility makes it easy for people to hide their activities from friends and family members. This anonymity can contribute to problem gambling, as individuals are less likely to seek help if they believe their online gambling is becoming problematic. Additionally, online gambling may lead to other behavioral problems, such as substance abuse and depression.

Another potential cause of online gambling is the release of dopamine and serotonin, feel-good neurotransmitters that stimulate addictive behavior. These chemicals make the gambler feel good after a win, which encourages them to keep gambling in order to experience these feelings again and again. In addition, the fast pace and continuous nature of online gambling can be difficult to stop.

Some countries have laws that regulate online gambling, but these often contain loopholes. For example, the UK law says that betting exchanges are legal, but it does not cover all betting products. Other countries, such as Belgium, Finland and Sweden have state-owned monopolies and block access to foreign operators. In the US, legislators like Bob Goodlatte and Jon Kyl have introduced bills to curb online gambling, but they have not been passed.

While online gambling is not as socially acceptable as traditional gambling, there are still ways to mitigate the risks. One way is to play for free before depositing real money. Some sites offer a number of free-play versions that mimic the full experience without the need to download software or apps. There are also a number of charity-based organisations that provide support for those who have been affected by gambling. For example, GamCare’s online assessment tool can give you a personalised report and advice on what to do next. It asks a series of questions about your gambling behaviour and gives you a score to indicate whether you have a problem. Alternatively, you can call GamCare on 0800 288 8888 for confidential support and advice. They can also refer you to specialist services.