Online Gambling is any gambling activity that is conducted via the Internet, including virtual poker and casinos and sports betting. Unlike traditional bricks-and-mortar gambling establishments, which offer customers games in a glamorous environment, online casino services are offered on digital platforms where gamblers can place bets on the outcome of various events in the comfort of their homes. Despite being under-researched and unregulated, the online gambling industry is growing rapidly with annual revenues increasing from about US$2.2 billion in 2000 to over US$10 billion in 2022.
Although online gambling is available 24 hours a day, it can be difficult to control how much an individual spends. A lack of face-to-face accountability means that individuals may be tempted to spend more money than they can afford, leading to financial difficulties and addiction. In addition, online gambling can trigger psychological effects such as feelings of regret and guilt and increase the intake of alcohol or other substances to help suppress these emotions.
In some cases, excessive involvement in online gambling can lead to health problems such as a lowered immunity and weight gain or loss due to sleep and food deprivation. In addition, online gambling can cause relationship difficulties and exacerbate existing mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders or other addictions. The online gaming environment can also conceal addiction symptoms making it difficult for individuals to seek help. Early identification of risk indicators is vital to reduce gambling-related harms and prevent addiction.