Online Gambling: No Link to Problem GamblingPublished January 4, 2015 by Mike P
Three research studies have clearly determined that online gambling has not led to an increase in the rate of problem gambling.
Without clear research findings, a lazy assumption would be to state that online gambling has been an aggravating factor for problem gamblers. And that’s because three long-term research studies have determined that problem gambling rates have not increased amid the industry’s growth. The key findings from Harvard University, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), and the University of Buffalo are outlined below.
Addiction specialist Dr Howard Shaffer presented findings in 2011 from a Harvard research study he performed into online gambling. Shaffer started his research as far back as 2005 with data provided by global gambling operator bwin, before it merged with PartyGaming to form bwin.party.
After years of analysing betting data, Shaffer was able to determine that greater accessibility at online gambling sites does not actually result in a higher rate of problem gambling. Furthermore, he also concluded that 75% of online problem gamblers had already displayed addictive behaviour before playing online.
A more recent report from UK advertising authority CAP provides perspective on TV marketing. Having evaluated the TV advertising methods of online gambling operators since 2007, CAP found that adverts had no impact, with UK problem gambling rates remaining flat over the past several years.
In fact, the report even stated that problem gambling rates among young people had remained static in spite of years of growth in the industry.
University of Buffalo Findings
The most recent findings come from a 2014 study undertaken by the University of Buffalo, supporting the findings of both Shaffer and CAP. Led by Dr John Welte, his prior research had found a link between problem online gambling and people who lived close to land-based casinos.
Consequently, Welte was surprised to discover that his findings actually supported those of Shaffer and CAP. Over the past 10 years, he discovered that problem online gambling rates have remained flat in spite of major industry growth.