Oregon Problem Gambling Helpline

Internet Gambling: A casino in every home and office?

Today, anyone with a personal computer and modem, interactive television or a cell phone has the capacity to gamble, virtually creating their own personal casino. Internet gambling is becoming an increasingly popular form of gambling, and there are now an estimated 1,700 gambling websites on the Internet and the number is expected to grow.

The convenience of gambling at home, the ease of setting up a gambling account and the variety of forms of gambling - from traditional betting, to casino gambling, bingo and lotteries - makes online gambling very appealing; that appeal leads to increased risk of problems with this new form of gambling.

Risks of internet gambling (See also the Youth section for Oregon Youth Internet Gambling Data)

Young males at highest risk?

Data released in October 2006 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center show that more than one million young people currently are using Internet gambling sites on a monthly basis. Among males 18 to 22, Internet gambling doubled in the past year. The new data were released by the National Annenberg Risk Survey of Youth, which has tracked gambling among young people ages 14 to 22 since 2002. Based on the survey’s most recent estimates, approximately 850,000 males ages 18 to 22 gamble online at least once a month. The corresponding number for males between 14 and 17 is 357,000. Among the 18- to 22-year-old age group, weekly use of Internet gambling sites increased from 2.3% in 2005 to 5.8% this year, a statistically significant increase.

Full survey results may be found here

Tips for safer internet gambling

Youth and online gambling

The US Federal Trade Commission is concerned about youth gambling on the Internet and wants teens and parents to understand the risks associated; parents should tell their children that: You can lose your money. Online gambling operations are in business to make a profit. They take in more money than they pay out. You can ruin a good credit rating. Online gambling generally requires the use of a credit card. If kids rack up debt online, they could ruin their credit rating - or their parent's. Online gambling can be addictive. Because Internet gambling is a solitary activity, people can gamble uninterrupted and undetected for hours at a time. Gambling in social isolation and using credit to gamble may be risk factors for developing gambling problems. Gambling is illegal for kids. Every state prohibits gambling by minors. That's why gambling sites don't pay out to kids and go to great lengths to verify the identity of any winner. Parents should also actively monitor their children’s use of any internet sites, including those involving gambling. Although not a 100 percent guarantee of protection, there is software that blocks access to online gambling sites. See www.gamblock.com for more details.

Websites for more information on internet gambling

Managing Internet Gambling in the Workplace www.firstmonday.org

eGambling issue on Internet gambling: www.camh.net

GAO report on Internet gambling www.gao.gov

Internet gambling: legal issues www.gamblingandthelaw.com

Wikipedia overview of Internet and online gambling issues en.wikipedia.org

Newshour: legislation banning fund transfers for online gambling www.pbs.org

CBS 60 Minutes story on Internet gambling www.cbsnews.com

American Gaming Association factsheet on industry issues www.americangaming.org

Washington State Gambling Commission factsheet www.wsgc.wa.gov

Media Awareness article on Internet gambling and youth www.media-awareness.ca

FTC guidelines for parents regarding youth online gambling www.ftc.gov

APA advisory on Internet gambling www.psych.org

Annenberg Public Policy statement on online gambling and youth www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org

Sources (all accessed online on Nov. 18, 2006):