Online gambling is the use of a computer or a mobile phone to place a bet, which can result in winnings or losses. It can take the form of a casino, poker room or lottery game and is offered by different organisations. It is legal in some countries, but illegal in others. The United States is among the most restrictive nations in terms of online gambling, and its laws make it difficult for people to create websites that offer gambling activities.
The development of online gambling was largely driven by the internet, which provides the opportunity to access information and communicate with people from anywhere in the world. However, online gambling is not without its risks and can be addictive.
In recent years, online gambling has become a popular way to wager on sports, horse races and other games. This can be done from any location, including your home, as long as you have a computer or a smartphone with a stable internet connection.
It has become a very lucrative industry and has grown rapidly in popularity over the past decade. The Internet allows a large number of people to gamble at the same time, allowing them to compete with each other in various games.
There are a number of benefits to gambling online, including: (i) it can be accessed from anywhere in the world; (ii) it is a fast and convenient way of placing a bet; and (iii) it can be a very safe way of gambling.
The Internet has also facilitated the development of many new games and betting products, which are increasingly being marketed to online players. These include video slot machines, virtual reality poker and other virtual gambling games.
These have increased the speed and ease of online gambling, making it easier to place bets when away from home or at work. They have also introduced a vast range of exotic bet types, often with poor odds, which increase the likelihood of losses.
Treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking gamblers both reported that these changes in online gambling intensified their gambling experiences, fostering impulsive gambling, persistent and escalating losses, and loss-chasing. This intensification of the provision of online gambling is a concern for policy makers and clinicians, as it is likely to contribute to a rise in gambling-related harms and addictions.
This research explored the changes that have occurred in online gambling over the last decade, and how these influenced the gambling experiences and behaviours of treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking online gamblers. Using an in-depth qualitative study, we aimed to understand the impact that these changes have had on treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking gambling experiences and behaviours.
Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with past-year online gambling participants. The sample included individuals who enrol with a Swedish market survey company, Ipsos, and who were asked to provide an answer to the screen-out question: “if you think about the past 12 months, how often have you gambled on sports betting or online casinos?”
We found that online gambling intensification has influenced the gambling experiences and behaviours of both treatment-seeking and non-treatment-seeking internet gamblers. This intensification has tended to undermine the self-regulatory efforts of many treatment-seekers, who struggled to maintain or regain control over their gambling and often used a range of tools to minimise the harms associated with their gambling behaviour.