The Growing Popularity of Online Gambling
Internet gambling is a form of betting and wagering that takes place over the Internet. Online gaming activities include sports wagering, casinos, and virtual poker. This type of gambling has become increasingly popular and may be the fastest growing form of gambling.
Research has shown that there is a relationship between internet gambling and problem gambling. Approximately 16 percent of all internet gamblers are problem gamblers. The prevalence of problem gamblers is significantly higher among internet gamblers than it is among non-problem gamblers. Interestingly, this group has been found to have significantly more alcohol and drug use than other gamblers.
Problem gambling can lead to harmful outcomes. While the vast majority of Internet problem gamblers have not exhibited any problematic behaviour before they began using the Internet, some may have problems in their past. Some may have problems with alcohol, drugs, or other mental illnesses.
In 2007, six percent of the British population participated in online gambling. However, only six percent of the general public used the internet to purchase lottery tickets. Therefore, the Internet’s popularity as a means of gambling is a relatively new phenomenon.
Gambling is considered illegal in the United States, and federal law reinforces state law in cases. Federal law also provides that financial instruments are not accepted for illegal Internet bets. Despite this, state officials have expressed concern that the Internet can bring illegal gambling into their jurisdictions.
A number of attacks on the enforceability of the federal gambling laws have been made on constitutional grounds. Most have failed to gain much success. Attacks have focused on the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, but there have been some questions raised regarding the Commerce Clause’s authority to legislate on gambling.