Internet Gambling not a Definitive Cause of Gambling Disorder According to Research 

In light of the significant changes that transpired in the gambling industry, particularly its increasing availability and its potential to raise levels of disordered gambling, a new study was conducted in order to determine the relationship of Internet gambling to disordered, or problem gambling. Based on an all-inclusive review of existing journals conducted by Dr. Sally Gainsbury, a lecturer at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales, the results show that there is little evidence that Internet gambling is by itself, the current root cause of gambling behavior disorder.

According to Dr. Gainsbury, despite some signs, the relationship between gambling online and problems in gambling has not been confirmed. She wrote that there are studies that show the same rates of problem gambling occurrence in both Internet-based and land-based gambling, as some research provides evidence that only a few online gamblers participate exclusively in Internet gambling.

Dr. Gainsbury cited studies involving Internet-only gamblers showing that such types of gamblers have lower rates of adverse gambling behavior, compared to those who participate in gambling activities exclusively offline, as well as to those who participate in both offline and online gambling. She also mentioned in her report that further analysis shows that those who engage in both online and offline modes of gambling seemed to have the greatest risks, which she reports as likely related to greater overall involvement in gambling activities.

Dr. Gainsbury's report stated that analysis of research outcomes suggests that gamblers who are highly involved, including those with existing problem-gambling behaviors, have the likeliest inclination to engage in Internet forms of gambling compared to the less riveted gamblers. Still, further examination of data sourced from online gambling sites that furnished self-initiated reports provided by problem gamblers, revealed that not all those categorized as highly involved were at risks of having gambling-related problems. In the same way, not all those who have low levels of gambling involvement were not at risks. Such findings, according to Dr. Gainsbury, is significant because it shows that predicting gambling problems cannot be based on a single index, such as frequency of involvement or amounts of gambling spend.

Furthermore, other studies furnish information that around one-third to one-half of online gamblers experiencing adverse gambling behaviors attributes their gambling problems to land-based gambling participation. More than half of those who provided such information disclosed that they were already afflicted with gambling disorder, even before they participated in Internet-based gambling.

The report cited as example the results of an Australian national survey in which nearly half of all respondent gamblers, including Internet gamblers, admitted that the primary cause of their adverse gambling behavior are the land-based electronic betting machines.

Although the results of the study may seem favorable to those who support all forms of online gambling, Dr. Gainsbury emphasized that the report does not necessarily exclude Internet gambling as a potential cause.

Dr. Gainsbury has conducted studies funded by grants coming from government and private organizations in Australia, which include Aristocrat Technologies, Echo Entertainment, Gambling Research Australia, NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing and Sportsbet. The objectives of which pertained to research on problem gambling in relation to provisions of enhancements, and of the most advantageous treatment methods and strategies, as well as the assessment of casino employees at risk of gambling problems.

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