Internet gambling refers to the range of wagering activities available online. These include sports betting, casino games, and virtual poker. Internet gambling is often more convenient and offers a wider variety of betting options than land-based forms of gambling. It also allows people to bet more frequently and to place larger bets. However, some problem gamblers may use the Internet for a pathological purpose. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the risks and consequences of using the Internet for gambling.
Online gambling is facilitated by technological advances and the ease of access to internet-enabled devices. High-speed internet connections allow for fast and effective bets. Although the prevalence of Internet gambling has been low, it is expected to continue to grow. The number of jurisdictions that have recognized the benefits of regulating the Internet and its products and services has increased. Some have regulated the Internet’s betting offerings to increase consumer protection and taxation revenue.
Problem gambling is a growing concern among the general public and lawmakers. In 2007, approximately six percent of the British population used the Internet for betting. Several studies have shown that Internet gamblers are at a higher risk for problem gambling. Compared to non-Internet gamblers, those who participate in Internet gambling are more likely to have alcohol and drug problems and to have a history of problem gambling. Among online gamblers, problem gamblers have been identified in about 16.4 percent of cases.
Internet gambling is considered an illegal activity under United States law. Section 1956 of the U.S. Code defines unlawful Internet gambling as receiving, transmitting, or obtaining a bet, whether or not the bet is made by a physical presence on the Internet. Internet gaming involves the creation, sale, or exchange of odds or chances, or the conduct of pool-selling or bookmaking, including the maintenance of a roulette wheel or other electronic gambling device.
Despite the fact that Internet gambling is illegal in the United States, many state and federal officials have expressed concerns that it could be used to facilitate illegal gambling into their jurisdictions. Because the United States is a federal jurisdiction, there are many legal and constitutional issues that can arise regarding the enforcement of gambling laws. For example, the Commerce Clause has raised questions about the validity of Congress’ ability to regulate the Internet. Since the United States is a federation of states, federal law can reinforce state law, but can also impede state enforcement policies. As such, the Federal Court of Appeals has held that a state cannot prohibit a person from participating in a legal gambling activity in another state, even if the state law is more lenient.
Many argue that Internet gambling constitutes a form of criminal activity, but other states and jurisdictions recognize its benefits. For example, Australia legalized land-based electronic gaming machines. A growing number of jurisdictions recognize that regulation can increase consumer protection and generate taxation revenue.
As the Internet continues to develop, it is important to study the potential risk factors for the development of gambling disorders and addiction. While some studies have shown that gambling involvement is a risk factor for problem gambling, the extent of this relationship remains unclear. Consequently, it is essential to address this question in a longitudinal, longitudinal research framework.