Is there a increased risk of addiction in online gambling? Harvard Medical School says no

…fast access to casino games and poker tables is guaranteed to fuel your gambling addiction. Not really…
Shut down your computers, lock those tablets, and lower the limits on your credit cards. If you’ve got a computer and you like casino games, you’re going to lose your shirt, house, and who knows what else. Why? Because that fast access to casino games and poker tables is guaranteed to fuel your gambling addiction. Well, not really. But that hasn’t stopped church groups and Republicans from running their mouths about the dangers of Internet gambling. Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is spearheading an anti-online gambling campaign, using hundreds of millions of his own money to try and make gambling online illegal.

But a recent report out of Harvard reveals that web gambling doesn’t come with an increased risk of addiction. A study conducted by the Division on Addictions of Harvard Medical School is suggesting that just because Internet gambling like online poker and casino games is more prevalent, it hasn’t led to a rise in the number of people finding themselves addicted to gambling.

And here’s where it gets interesting. The same study innermedical17072014 actually concluded that people who visit gambling websites are more likely to self-regulate how they bet based on win and loss patterns.

The study didn’t just survey gamblers. It actually followed 3,445 poker players at BWIN. They analyzed poker outcomes and tallied the number of chips bought and sold each gambling session.

What surprised the people conducting the study most? The majority of the poker players tended to gamble very moderately and lightly. We aren’t talking about high rollers playing $100/$200 poker. We’re talking about people anteing up with $100 for the week, playing $0.01/$0.02 poker or low-limit cash games.

This might have surprised the researchers, but it doesn’t surprise us. At Palace of Chance, while we don’t offer peer-to-peer poker games, we do offer the option to play casino games for free. And when you do choose to play slots or table games for real money, you can get in the game for pennies a spin or as little as $1 a hand.

The study concluded that the gambling addicted population hasn’t increased since the 1970s. The number of people addicted to gambling remains at around 0.6 percent of the US population. That still adds up to about 2 million people, and that’s definitely no number to laugh at. But gambling addiction doesn’t necessarily mean losing your shirt. It means having a tendency to be addicted to gambling, even if you’re able to get it under control and not play.

While we’d love to see that number hit 0, that’s just not the case today. But the good news is that gambling addiction isn’t on the rise and Internet gambling isn’t the enemy that Sheldon Adelson paints it to be.


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