Internet gambling is one of the fastest growing modes of wagering. It is facilitated by technological advancements, including high-speed internet connections, a wide variety of betting products, and convenient access. However, the increased availability of online gambling may increase the number of gamblers with gambling problems.
Gambling includes conducting lotteries, maintaining roulette wheels, and bookmaking. Some online gaming activities are prohibited under federal law, including sports betting. Illegal Internet gambling is a criminal matter, and it is governed by seven federal statutes.
For example, the Wire Act prohibits illegal betting on sporting events. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) provisions also prohibit unlawful gambling business activities. Other federal criminal statutes include the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Illegal Gambling Business Act, and the Interstate Commerce Act.
Problem gamblers are considered a heterogeneous group. Researchers have studied a number of factors that contribute to this category. The most commonly reported advantages are convenience, ease of access to money, and the ability to play at any time of the day or night.
Some studies have shown that problem gamblers are more likely to use alcohol and drugs. In addition, they are more likely to report having had a gambling problem before they began online gambling. But there has been little research to support the idea that Internet gambling increases the risk of problem gambling.
Most longitudinal studies have not shown a relationship between Internet gambling participation and the presence of problem gambling. Although most studies show higher rates of involvement in Internet gambling for non-problem gamblers, there is a lack of data to suggest that it predicts problem gambling severity.