The Internet Gambling Debate: Is Research The Missing Ingredient?

The “Room for Debate” section ofThe New York Timesrecently posed the question,“Should Internet gambling be legalized?”Several respondents identified an increase in gambling addiction as the probable outcome if Congress lifts the current ban on online gambling in the United States. The belief that the easy access and social isolation of Internet gambling make it an especially risky behavior has become conventional wisdom. However, the question remains: are these concerns based on speculation or scientific research?

This month’s edition ofIssues & Insightsaddresses this question in a summary of an article recently published inAddiction Research and Theory.The article reviewed the state of research on online gambling and discusses the groundbreaking investigations of the betting patterns of customers of the European wagering sitebwin.Led by Dr. Howard Shaffer, director of theDivision on Addictionsat Cambridge Health Alliance, the research on the actual betting transactions ofbwinsubscribers offers a pioneering methodology beyond the limits of self-report and offers some unexpected findings about the behavior patterns of those who bet on sports, poker and casino games on the Internet. Read more about this research inSeptember’sIssues and Insights. As always, we welcome your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.

NCRG staffResearch UpdatebwinDivision on AddictionsHoward J. ShafferInternet gamblingproblem gambling