Ever since online gambling was introduced over a decade ago, there has been speculation that the industry has led to an increase in problem gambling worldwide. Now, a new study helps to debunk this belief, as researchers from Southern Cross have found that problem gambling is not explicitly caused by access to online casinos. Online and mobile gambling are fast-growing industries. They offer players unprecedented access to casino games and online pokies, and responsible gambling advocates are concerned that this can cause players to develop unhealthy gambling habits. Dr Sally Gainsbury of Southern Cross University wanted to explore these claims. In examining previous research on the topic, the research team gathered interesting statistics about gambling addiction among online vs offline players. In a recent prevalence survey among Australians, there was a 0.9% gambling rate among non-internet players – compared to 2.7% who gamble online. Furthermore, 40% of online players could be classified as problem gamblers – compared to 20% of land-based players. However, Dr Gainsbury notes that this is not indicative that online gambling causes addition. Instead, she has found that online gambling is popular among players who already exhibit problem gambling behaviour. “Studies have found that one-third to one-half of Internet gamblers experiencing gambling problems attribute these to land-based forms of gambling, and over half report that they had existing problems before they ever gambled online,” she writes. “This is consistent with one study reporting that problem Internet gamblers prefer land-based over Internet gambling”. While this research is incredibly valuable in helping to shed light on gambling addiction, further studies are required. There is still research to be done in order to determine how to reduce risk factors for online gambling that could help to identify safeguards for players at online casinos. To read the full report, click here.