The emergence of online gambling was accompanied by debates about how to regulate it. At first glance, online gambling seemed to be an end run around government control, as operators could set up shop in a foreign jurisdiction and allow anyone with a computer and a credit card to gamble. As online gambling grew in popularity, however, the federal government and the Department of Justice began looking for ways to regulate it. Now, both sides are trying to create uniform federal standards.
One such example of a game of skill is daily fantasy sports. In this game, players draft a team, place wagers, and then get paid. These games can be played on almost any day of the year, against a single opponent or a league of opponents. Unlike traditional sports wagering, daily fantasy sports cover all major sports. They can satisfy a whim about the New England Patriots or the Boston Celtics, or even wager on an NBA game for a chance to win a million dollars.
Internet gambling is also becoming increasingly popular for its ease and convenience. With mobile devices and desktop computers, online gambling is accessible from almost anywhere and is also accessible from virtually anywhere. Although convenience and accessibility are the most commonly cited benefits of online gambling, others have also noted that it offers greater value for money, payout rates, and the ease of playing online. And the comfort of playing in one’s own home is another advantage. And, of course, there’s the convenience of the whole process.
The prevalence of gambling problems among internet users is higher than in offline gamblers, but these findings do not necessarily follow the same pattern. Using a self-report screen and an Internet gambling index, LaPlante and his colleagues studied data from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Study and found a correlation between Internet gamblers and problem gamblers. The researchers noted that internet gambling is associated with gambling problems, but not exclusively with internet gambling.
The impact of internet gambling on mental health is not entirely clear. Many studies conducted in Sweden did not support the assumption that Internet gambling would attract problem gamblers. But these studies did show that offline gamblers were more likely to report psychological and health problems than internet gamblers. In the future, research will continue to identify characteristics of internet gamblers who are at risk for gambling problems. But, for now, these results are only a starting point.
Online sports betting and casino gambling in Illinois will likely become available by the summer of 2020. The state legislature will likely pass legislation to legalize online sports betting in Kentucky, which will be the last state to do so. Several states are in the process of legalizing online gambling. Kentucky has a deadline of this week to send its gambling expansion bill to the governor, but a vote is still needed to make the online sports betting laws a reality.