Saturday July 12,2014 : UPDATE ON HARVARD PROBLEM GAMBLING STUDY
Still no evidence to support claims that online gambling is more addictive.
A July 2014 update to the long-running and on-going study of problem gambling conducted by the Harvard Medical School and funded by the Bwin.Party online gambling group shows that little has changed in the scientific assessment that online gambling is not more addictive that other forms, and therefore does not present the serious danger to society that some of its opponents have suggested.
The update at http://www.divisiononaddiction.org/ was the subject of an article by gaming writer Steve Ruddock in The Atlantic this week, who commented that the results continue to "eviscerate" the arguments against online gambling and its potential to create social problems put forward by various antagonists.
The Harvard Medical School study of 40,000 sports gamblers, 4,000 casino punters and 2 million poker players in summary shows that the typical online gambler bets infrequently and for small stakes.
The average sports punter bets no more than five times a week with an average stake of $5.50, and when it comes to online poker players the average time spent at the virtual tables is less than five hours over a six month period, with average rake of less than a dollar an hour, indicating very low level betting.
Contrary to some negative claims, the study has found that the average online casino player gambles once every fortnight.
Harvard's statistics suggest that problem or "intense gambling behaviour" percentages among online players are not greater than those experienced in land gambling at a low estimate of 1 percent and a high of 5 percent, which correlates with the conventional wisdom on this aspect, and historical information dating back to pre-internet gambling days.
That calls into question arguments that online gambling creates more problem gamblers for society than the land equivalent.
In his article, Ruddock also references a much smaller University of Guelph study on the impact on gambling behaviour of ambient surroundings, where land gambling establishments clearly offer more player potential in terms of a social and sensory environment.