Just last month the New Jersey Devils and the Philadephia 76ers became the first professional US sports teams to be sponsored by online gambling companies. Online gambling is now legal in three U.S. states. Closer to home, online gambling on sporting and cultural events is permitted in Australia. It seems that the rapid growth of online gambling has led to its increasing acceptance in society.
Despite forms of internet gambling such as offshore online casinos and online poker not regulated by Australian law and not allowed to operate in Australia, participation in online gambling is growing across the board. It seems that those who gamble online may be at higher risk of developing gambling problems than those participating in other forms of gambling.
So why is internet gambling dangerous? Firstly, gambling on sites that are not regulated in Australia leaves people open to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators. What’s more, online poker rooms may be inhabited by professional players who prey on unsuspecting amateurs, or may even cheat by using sophisticated software called “poker-bots”.
Perhaps most importantly, certain features of online gambling games make them highly addictive. Online gambling is readily accessible, available anywhere and anytime; play is rapid, there are rarely forced breaks in play; players can bet very large amounts in a short space of time, there are rarely delays in winnings being credited. Perhaps most worryingly, players can gamble while alone at home, meaning that online gamblers can lose track of both time and money when they play.
But these addictive features are not only present in online gambling games.
What features of your preferred mode of gambling do you think make it difficult to stop once you start?
Free, confidential, expert help and support is available anytime by calling Gambling Help on 1800 858 858 or visiting the website.