Harvard Study Shows that Online Casinos Don’t Contribute to Problem Gambling

By Maria McCoyGoogle


Two Harvard professors have published a study indicating that online gambling does not foster negative gambling habits.  The two professors, Howard J. Shaffer and Ryan Martin, published their paper “Disordered Gambling: Etiology, Trajectory and Clinical Considerations” in the Clinical Psychology Annual Review.  The study points at a decrease in the amount of problem gambling.


Over the course of the last four decades, land gambling has seen much growth.  Despite that fact, the percentages of problem gambling have gone down.  Shaffer spoke with a Chicago Tribune reporter on the subject and explained that for the vast majority of American people, gambling is a fun controlled activity.  He also shot down the view of anti-gambling pundits who claim that online gambling poses a greater risk.  Statistical analysis of online gambling habits shows that most players actually reduce the amount of time spent gambling over a period of just a few short months in spite of the ready availability of the gambling.  This is the opposite behavior pattern of a gambling addict.


Shaffer further showed that a very small percentage of the total gambling population actually engage in online gambling.  Thus far, no clear evidence has proven that online gambling in any way leads to scenarios of addictive gambling.  His studies further point out that of the 0.6% of American gamblers who are addicted to gambling, 75% suffer from additional addictions.  The surprise is that in the vast majority of cases, those other addictions supersede the addiction to gambling. 


Harvard professors have been gathering knowledge about problem gambling for a long time.  The goal of this research is to aid in diagnosis and treatment of the problem.  Additionally, while analyzing the issue, they also wish to dispel false rumors and misconceptions about the issue that can cloud proper debate.


Shaffer and Martin are not alone in their findings.  Other researches in this field have reached similar conclusions.  Some of the researchers received funding from online gambling companies, while others received funding from regulatory authorities.  This attests to the objective accuracy of the results.

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