Problem gambling is a concern for everyone throughout the gambling industry, with developers, operators and watchdogs all playing a role in ensuring that safeguards are in place to protect those who might become addicted to gambling. Ever since the naissance of internet gambling – and increasingly in the days of mobile – there’s a worry that easier access to gambling means there’s a higher chance of players becoming addicted to gambling. However, a new scholarly paper has brought new evidence that using online and mobile gambling is not more likely to lead to addiction.
There have always been those who worry about gambling, but with the rise of internet gambling, the voices speaking out against online and mobile gambling have reached fever pitch. With complaints ranging from the fact that people can now access gambling sites 24/7 from anywhere, to the fact that you can transfer thousands of pounds into your casino account in a matter of seconds, many people see online and particularly mobile gambling as a drug which is driving up rates of gambling addiction.
While many proponents of gambling were always quick to dismiss these points offhand – stating that online and mobile gambling really has more malicious effects than gambling in traditional casinos or bookmakers – without proper data to show one way or the other, these concerns remained valid. It would be careless of the industry to ignore the problem, and it’s clear that a better understanding of the relationship between mobile gambling and addiction would benefit many people – including the industry itself.
What the New Paper Shows
So, is there data which can help solve the argument? Well, yes, thanks to Dr. Sally Gainsbury and her paper ‘Online Gambling Addiction: the Relationship Between Internet Gambling and Disordered Gambling’. The paper looks at the rates of problem gambling of those who gamble on and offline, and where problem gambling develops.
The key thing to pay attention to is that Gainsbury doesn’t claim that problem gambling is absent from online and mobile gambling – indeed she addresses at length the fact that it is a wide spread and prevalent issue. Instead she looks at where problem gambling and gambling addiction arise. The finding? Most people who suffer from problem gambling and use online and mobile gambling sites, develop their problems from live gambling.
While online and mobile gambling still offer sufferers increased access to outlets which will feed their addiction, online and mobile gambling is not – the paper suggests – the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’ which its opponents would have you believe. Indeed, Gainsbury notes that the rates of gambling addiction among those who primarily or exclusively gamble online are significantly lower than among those who primarily or exclusively in real casinos and bookmakers.
Whatever this paper shows about how problem gambling develops, it’s important to note that problem gambling is a devastating problem for sufferers. If you think you’ve got a gambling problem, or suspect someone you know might, you can use the resources below to find help.
- Our Responsible Gambling page
- Our Self-Exclusion Guide
- Problem Gambling: Who Can Help?
- 7 Signs You’re Addicted To Gambling (And 3 Places To Find Help)