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Online Gamblers Exercise Restraint

16 April, 2009,  Milton Shaw, Staff writer

Governments and gambling regulatory authorities from around the world have, since its inception, warned of the dangers of online gambling for problem gamblers. 

In fact, many have cited concern for gambling addicts as a key reason for any attempts to try to curb local gambler migration to offshore betting sites (not concerns about lost revenues from gambling taxes!).

But the results of a recent study of problem gambling in the United States conducted by a Harvard University professor have questioned the validity of this long held view.  Dr Howard Shaffer's research revealed that the incidence of problem gambling in the US has decreases marginally over the last 20 years, from 0.7% (% of population meeting defined problem gambling criteria) to 0.6%.  And in a result that surprised Dr Shaffer, it was found that online gamblers are relatively moderate and restrained compared with their terrestrial counterparts.

"The very first thing we learned (studying Internet gambling patterns), which we didn't expect, was that the vast majority, the overwhelming majority of gamblers online gamble in a very moderate and mild way" Shaffer revealed.

Shaffer goes on to say that it has been a long held belief by the scientific community that the arrival of internet gambling would lead to a proliferation of gambling generally and a significant increase in gambling disorders.  This however has simply not been the case.

Dr Shaffer further opines that any online gambling prohibition is unenforceable and will probably never work.  A better approach to fostering responsible community gambling activities is education, public awareness programs and strict advertising guidelines.



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