Rise in Online Gambling in US Leading to an Increase in Problem Gambling
Online gambling is a lot of fun but there is no getting away from the potential issues surrounding the hobby. There has been a rise in the number of people gambling online in the United States and this could lead to an increase in problem gambling. What are the factors behind the potential increase in problem gambling in the US and why are they linked to the rise in online gambling?
Ease of Access
Gambling online is more convenient than gambling at a land-based casino or sportsbook. You do not have to travel to gamble online, you can switch on the computer at home and begin gambling within a matter of minutes. The introduction of mobile casinos and sportsbooks means online gambling is available wherever there is an internet connection. It does not matter if you are sat in a bar or on a bus, if you have an internet connection you can gamble online.
There has been an increase in the number of people gambling online in the US over the past four years but that is partly due to the fact more states have been legalizing online gambling. The more states in which online gambling becomes legal, the more people are going to be participating in gambling. Unfortunately, that means there is also going to be a rise in problem gambling as a small minority lose control of their gambling. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure you do not develop a gambling problem.
Play at Trusted Sites
You must always gamble at trusted gambling websites and never play at websites that are not legal in the United States. Trusted websites will be fully licensed and regulated to operate in the US. That means they are always being monitored to make sure they are fair and always keeping the safety of their players in mind. All games will be evaluated by the authority regulating the gambling website and there will be clear information provided about responsible gambling. There should be a page on the website detailing their commitment to responsible gambling and a phone number so you can reach out should you feel you or a friend is developing a problem.
Look for online gambling sites that allow you to set deposit limits. By setting a deposit limit, the website will stop you from adding more funds to your betting account when you have met the limit for that day/week/month. By setting a reasonable limit for yourself, you will ensure you only bet what you can afford to lose.
Self-exclusion is a fantastic tool that can be used if you feel you are developing an online gambling problem. You can make a request to the online casino or sportsbook to be excluded from making bets on their website. If you try and gamble during a self-exclusion period, the gambling company will take all reasonable steps to prevent you from placing a bet.
Most regulated gambling businesses will have their own self-exclusion tools in place and in most cases, self-exclusion means having your account closed and any remaining funds returned to your bank account.
Gambling Addiction and Depression
A recent survey by the Responsible Gambling Council based on information in Canada showed a link between problem gambling and depression. The information from the study showed people diagnosed with severe depression were five times more likely to participate in high-risk gambling. The more risk there is attached to a bet, the less likely the outcome is going to be favorable, which means losing money. Online gambling gives people who are suffering from severe depression easy access 24/7 from the comfort of their own home. So, even if an individual does not want to go out and see other people, they could still develop a gambling problem at home.
It is important to note that while the rise in online gambling in the US will lead to more people suffering from problem gambling, there are many ways to stop individuals from developing a serious problem. Millions of people gamble responsibly online but it is important to follow all the reasonable steps to prevent individuals from developing a gambling problem.
If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, then please contact the National council on problem gambling on 1-800-522-4700.