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What is Online Gambling?

Online Gambling is any form of gambling that takes place on the Internet. It includes games such as online casinos, virtual poker and sports betting. Online gambling has many advantages and disadvantages, such as instant gratification, anonymity and variable rewards. It also has an addictive potential due to the ease of access and immersive nature of online gaming. Moreover, online gambling can go undetected and be carried out in private without being monitored by friends and family.

Research has highlighted that the mode of gambling may play a significant role in determining its prevalence and harms. For example, studies have shown that impulsive gamblers are more likely to experience gambling problems than those with low impulsivity. Similarly, different types of online gambling environments have different impact on gambling problems. It is important for researchers and clinicians to consider how these features of Internet gambling impact the experience and incidence of harms.

The proliferation of online gambling in the 1990s prompted concerns that it could lead to addiction and other harmful behaviours. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) included disordered gambling as the first non-substance behavioural addiction, setting the stage for research on other behaviour addictions such as online gaming disorder.

Some jurisdictions have adopted laws to regulate and limit the availability of online gambling. In the United States, Congress introduced bills in the late 1990s that sought to prohibit online gambling, but these were not passed. In addition, the emergence of sweepstakes casinos — which offer real money but skirt the rules and regulations of traditional casinos — has raised concerns that the US government is failing to adequately protect its citizens from gambling addiction.