Problem Gambling and Online Gambling

Online Gambling involves betting or playing games of chance or skill for money using a computer, tablet or cell phone with an internet connection. It can be a fun and exciting way to spend time, but it can also lead to addiction and financial ruin if not controlled properly.

Problem gambling affects a person’s mental health, relationships and overall well-being. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of regulation and oversight, fraud and scams, high stakes and impulsive behavior. In addition, the fast transactions and instant access to funds can make it easier for individuals to spend more than they have and even go into debt.

The American Psychiatric Association has included gambling disorder in the category of addictive and substance-related disorders. This is especially important in light of the increasing popularity and accessibility of online gambling. It is vital to encourage responsible gaming and to promote the availability of self-exclusion programs for those who need them.

In a recent study, LaPlante and colleagues found that while Internet gambling participation is associated with higher levels of risk and problem gambling severity, it is not significantly related to the use of other types of gambling formats, including retail/brick-and-mortar casinos, sportsbooks or lottery-style promotions. This suggests that Internet gambling is a distinct form of gambling and may require different treatment strategies.