Online Gambling is betting or playing games for money over the Internet using a computer, tablet or mobile phone. This includes casinos, sportsbooks, and even some video games with gambling elements. It is possible to bet for real money and some people can develop a serious addiction to online gambling. This can lead to debts, poor performance at work or school, and depression.
Many countries have legalised and regulated gambling online. However, in the United States, it is illegal to operate a gambling Web site without complying with US law. The first online casinos were established in 1996 and the popularity of online gambling has grown rapidly since then. In the late 1990s, there were just fifteen gambling websites; by 1998 this had increased to 200 sites.
Research on disordered Internet gambling is in its infancy and there are many challenges to interpreting findings from the available data. The main issues are that it is difficult to establish causality between the use of an Internet gambling website and a person’s level of gambling problems, and that longitudinal studies typically contain too few Internet gamblers to provide meaningful analyses.
The high risk nature of the industry means that it is a major target for fraudsters who can make or lose large sums of money in a short period of time. Failing to spot fraud and prevent it can lead to hefty fines for the operator, reduce customer satisfaction and cause reputational damage.