Online Gambling

| February 5, 2013


Billions are spent on the online gambling industry every year. From poker to blackjack to sports bets and more, gambling sites are easy to find– for adults and kids alike. Why the concern?

The risks

    • Too easy to access: the ability to gamble 24 hours a day
    • Too solitary: you can gamble in your own home undetected and unnoticed
    • Increased risk that children will find and use these sites
    • The absorbing nature of computers can lead people to lose track of time while gambling
    • Gambling online enables an accelerated speed of play; for example, casino
      card games have an average rate of play of around thirty hands per hour, compared to online poker, which can average sixty to eighty hands per hour
    • People coming to gambling treatment who used the Internet to gamble had more severe problems.
    • Decreased perception of the value of cash (i.e., players are forgetting that they are spending real money)
    • A gambling site on the other side of the world may or may not be legitimate; there may be very little to prevent the provider of online gambling services from taking one’s money and shutting down, or failing to pay winning
    • Credit card or account details may be vulnerable to capture, and funds may be vulnerable to theft by computer hackers
    • Internet gambling may be vulnerable to invasions of privacy. Information given to casino operators can be used for other purposes; for example, a service that uses telemarketing to convince people to bet on its football betting system may be willing to pay money for a list of Internet sports book players

online activity, which appears addictive in its own right for a minority of users, may interact synergistically with the propensity for problem gambling, and thereby increase the number of online problem gamblers.

It’s highly addictive.

  • There’s no limitation on availability. At home, in pajamas, it could hardly be more available…
  • There’s no limitation on time. People playing at home can play hours and hours, any time of day or night, before stopping.
  • There’s little limitation on money. With credit, a whole lot of money can be won–and lost–before stopping.

Keep this in mind before gambling online.

  • 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
  • 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.

Sources: Oregon DHS,

The U.S. & Online Gambling Laws

In the U.S., it’s not currently legal to operate a gambling site. That’s why you’ll see sites that “teach” you how to play for free…but offer a separate site that looks strikingly similar on which you play for real money.

U.S. Congress passed legislation in 2006 that bans the use of credit cards for online gambling.  However, some people in the U.S. are still accessing online gambling sites.

Tips for Safer Online Gambling

  • Only spend what you can afford to lose
  • Keep track of the amount of time that you play—decide on a time limit and stick to it
  • Keep track of your spending while playing
  • Remember that the numbers on the screen are real money
  • Avoid chasing your losses
  • If you’re a parent who gambles online, keep your password safe and consider using software to block access to gambling sites from minors
  • Look for sites with options where you can set your own spend and session limits.
  • If you are having a problem, request to be self-excluded from the site; there is also software that blocks access to all online gambling sites – see for more details

Source: Oregon DHS

Category: Problem Gambling