Monday, January 2, 2012

Is Gambling More Addictive Online?


Above is the headline of a recent story in the Hartford Courant about online gambling.

Massachusetts recently approved several casinos to compete with Connecticut's casinos. Connecticut estimates that Massachusetts casinos could reduce Indian gaming payments to the state by up to 25% or approximately $95 million annually.

Connecticut is now considering deployment of online gaming to offset those losses.

Connecticut, over the years, has had Jai alai, dog racing, and horse race betting via off track betting parlors. In the mid-1980s, it reached a deal with Native American tribes to offer casino gambling the state.

Connecticut’s casinos have been money-makers, in part, because Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as New York City, have not allowed casinos.

The prospect of online gambling in Connecticut is worrying some.

The Connecticut Post, in an editorial wrote:
While adults have the right to make their own decisions, it's a fact that a certain percentage of the adult population has a problem with gambling. If it's fair to say that opening up new avenues for gambling will increase revenue for the state, then it's also fair to say that it will create new opportunities for those who have a problem.
The research on the impact on problem gambling is still new. The Courant interviewed some psychologists about it.
Researchers have studied the psychology of gambling for decades. The field of online gambling research, though, is still new, and researchers say there are a number of questions about its potential dangers and whether online gambling poses psychological problems different from those related to traditional forms of gambling.
Nancy Petry, a psychologist at the University of Connecticut, said a few patterns have so far emerged. "We're finding that only a small proportion of gamblers do so online, but of these people, the vast majority do have gambling problems," said Petry.

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