A Closer Look At the Problem Gambling Study

Harvard University recently released a new study on problem gambling. Championing the report was Howard J. Shaffer and Ryan Martin, two well-known experts on the subject. The study is entitled, “Disordered Gambling: Etiology, Trajectory, and Clinical Considerations” and was featured in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. The conclusions indicated that problem gambling has dropped and that online gambling does not breed problem gambling.

There has been tremendous growth in land-based gambling over the past 35 years. However, problem gambling has decreased from 0.7% to 0.6%. Therefore, this proves that for the majority of Americans, this is an enjoyable but controllable activity. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Shaffer detailed the negative implications propagated by anti-online gambling politicians, support groups, and organizations.

He said that players gambling online have gone from more to less in a matter of weeks. This is an attribute that could have never been predicted. Therefore, the extent of online gambling has proven to be moderate at best.

Shaffer went on to reveal that only 1 percent of the overall global gambling population had participated in online gaming. Furthermore, there was no evidence to support that exposure to online gambling increases the risk of a player becoming addicted. Also, 75 percent of the 0.6 percent problem gamblers have other issues beyond gambling that contribute to their online addiction. The crucial aspect is that the other addictions came prior to the gambling addiction.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 75 percent had drinking issues
  • 38 percent had drug disorders
  • 60 percent had a dependence on smoking

This recent research adds to the widespread knowledge at Harvard on the subject of problem gambling. The researchers have a two-fold goal of accumulating additional knowledge about problem gambling: enabling improved diagnostic regimes and reaching a balanced view on problem gambling.

Shaffer and Martin’s work is not isolated as they have built on the results of other researchers in the problem gambling field. There are actually several researchers that have been sponsored by major online gambling organizations. Also, there are studies assigned by regulatory bodies such as the U.K. Gambling Commission which have found similar results.

In summary, although problem gambling is a disability that could result in tragic concerns, it is not a major threat to the majority of players. This and many other studies validate the claim that online gambling is not a problem for most online players.