Online Gamling is a growing segment of the online gambling industry with over seven hundred web sites offering users the opportunity to wager on everything from sports betting, fantasy sports and casino games to poker, roulette and slots. This segment is expected to pull in $1.5 billion in worldwide revenues this year, and is likely to increase further.
Washington State Gambling Laws
In the state of Washington, gambling is defined as wagering something of value on the outcome of a contest of chance or a future event in return for a prize. This is a violation of the state’s Gambling Act and subject to penalties.
Internet Gambling Problems
There are several factors that contribute to the emergence of gambling problems among Internet gamblers. These include the fact that the Internet mode is a heterogeneous group and that some individuals may experience problems in an earlier phase of gambling, whereas others are more vulnerable at later stages. Furthermore, Internet gambling problems are often accompanied by a variety of other social and economic problems. These include poor financial management, lack of self-control and social isolation .
Problematic gambling is also associated with a high risk of criminal activity. It can result in identity theft, financial ruin and damage to personal computer systems.
Developing and evaluating effective screening tools for the identification of gambling-related problems is essential for policymakers, Internet operators and players alike. Screening tools should consider a number of characteristics that distinguish high-involved from low-involved gamblers, and incorporate a variety of different player account data points to reduce bias and false positives. Early risk indicators that identify the onset of gambling problems should be identified and detected to reduce harms sustained by Internet gamblers, and prevent their progression to disordered gambling behaviours.
The development of conceptual models for gambling and problem gambling has largely been based on land-based gambling, with little attention paid to the emergence of Internet modes. This means that current models may not account for the unique characteristics of Internet gambling problems, and it is important to revisit these to understand whether they can explain the emergence of problems in this new mode of access.
Longitudinal research is needed to better understand the development of problem gambling in the context of online modes. It will be necessary to revisit existing conceptual models to verify whether they account for the emergence of gambling problems in this mode and whether any new variables or interactions should be included.
Affordability limits and self-set spend limits are key strategies that should be incorporated in the regulation of Internet gambling, to ensure that all players can afford the expenditures they make. These tools have the potential to prevent disordered gambling if they are used properly, but they should be backed up by other policies and strategies. These include a combination of affordability checks and self-imposed spending limits, as well as the use of information and notifications about risks to support players in avoiding problematic gambling.