What are the consequences of online gambling

Study shows: online gambling is particularly risky

The future is digital and networked: a sentence that we have got used to over the past few years, but which many people are only now really noticing - in the current Corona crisis. Lots Internet services are currently turning out to be a blessing. People who cannot or are not physically able to meet meet each other online, be it privately or in order to be able to work together. And if the fitness center is now streaming into the living room at home, it should be a foretaste of the changes that could (in the truest sense of the word) “be in our house” in the coming years.

New online habits

Staying at home and still encountering the world is the promise of the internet and this development is really picking up speed. We will certainly not keep all our new online habits when the situation approaches the "pre-corona state" again - but a whole range of them certainly do. And possibly many of those who are in Follow the closure of all arcades and casinos have switched to online casinos and virtual slot machine games, continue to play online.

Gambling on the internet has particular risks ...

Many people currently spend more time on the Internet than they already do. This increases the likelihood that you will come into contact with advertising for online gambling, and getting started with gambling itself is always just a click away. Experts speak of one in this context high - temporal and spatial - "availability" and classify this as an independent risk factor, comparable to the proximity to alcohol. In addition, people who play online often do so on their own and there is no one to interrupt their game or at least ask them about it once. In addition, several online games can in principle be played at the same time or in parallel, which means that the overview and thus control of the game is lost particularly quickly. Not to forget the danger that it is easy to be cheated when gambling online.

... also confirms the research

Addiction experts classify online gambling as particularly risky. To what extent is this assessment also supported by scientific studies? The researchers from Bremen and Hamburg investigated this question. To do this, they sifted through a large number of studies and selected the most informative among them. On the basis of their analysis, the three scientists formulated recommendations for action for politics.

A large majority of the evaluated studies confirm the described assessment of online gambling as particularly risky. The authors speak of one increased risk potential of games of chance on the net and refer to studies with both adolescents and adults. In games with a high frequency of events (such as virtual slot machine games), the risk is apparently particularly high.

Strict regulation of online gambling required

Due to the increased risk potential of online games of chance, the authors recommend a strong regulation of games of chance that take place on the net. Her article speaks of a “fundamentally high level of intervention by the state”, which is justified by the scientific evidence, up to and including the prohibition of some variants of online gambling.

It is also recommended that Gradually allow online gamblingstarting with the less risky variants. In their opinion, this opening of the market should then be accompanied scientifically. If this reveals increased "online-specific risks", consideration should be given to banning riskier online gambling variants. In addition, technical options for player protection should be used - with regard to early detection and early intervention in the event of risky gaming behavior - and blocked players should be included in a central, cross-game blocking register. A total of nine recommendations for action are listed in the specialist article.

In the new State Treaty on Gaming, more precisely in the "State Treaty on the New Regulation of Gaming in Germany" (as it should be called, the new treaty, we reported on it), which is to come into force on July 1, 2020, these will Recommendations for action at least partially taken into account. A central, cross-game blocking system is to be set up, and a strong regulation of online games of chance is planned. However, these are not legalized step by step, as required in the specialist article, starting with presumably less risky variants, but rather “in one go”.

It remains to be seen what the consequences will be planned legalization and regulation of online gambling will have on the gaming behavior of users. It should also be interesting how the forced break caused by the coronavirus will affect. We'll stay tuned to the topic.

Source: Hayer, Tobias, Girndt, Lydia & Kalke, Jens (2019). The Hazard Potential of Online Gambling: A Systematic Analysis of the Literature. Bremen: University of Bremen.