Harvard University Study Says Online Gambling Not to Blame for Problem Gambling

08/08/2011
By Pamela PattersonGoogle

 

Harvard Professors Howard J. Shaffer and Ryan Martin have published a study positing that online gambling does not contribute to problem gambling.  Their paper, published in the Clinical Psychology Annual Review under the title “Disordered Gambling: Etiology, Trajectory and Clinical Considerations” points to a notable decrease in the amount of problem gambling in the last decade.

 

Land gambling has seen considerable growth during the last three and half decades.  That being said, the prevalence of problem gambling has actually declined.  Shaffer, while speaking with a reporter from the Chicago Tribune, stated that for most of the American gamblers, it is merely a fun and controllable game.  He also disproved the view shared by many anti-gambling lobbyists that online gambling increases the risk of problem gambling.  On the contrary, via statistical analysis of the habits of online gamblers one might be surprised to find out that most players actually play less and less over the course of time – the opposite of the definition of addictive behavior. 

 

Furthermore, Shaffer’s study shows that a quite small fraction of the gambling population takes part in online gambling at all.  To date, no irrefutable evidence has been brought to the table giving credence to the claim that online gambling in fact leads to gambling addiction.  The study goes on to explain that of the 3 out of every 500 gamblers who actually are addicted to gambling, 3 our of every 4 are also heavily addicted to something else.  Not only does this show that gambling is not the cause of their addictive personality, but the study further showed that on their “addiction priority list,” gambling was typically last.

 

A number of Harvard professors have been studying problem gambling for quite some time in order to better develop methods of diagnosis and treatment.  As a side effect of their studies, they have been able to debunk certain myths about the issue, and shed some light on the heavily debated issue of gambling.

 

Shaffer and Martin are not the only researchers who arrived at these conclusions.  In the field of studying problem gambling, many others researchers have arrived at similar conclusions.  Though some of the research may seem dishonest because it was funded by gambling companies themselves, even research teams funded by regulatory associations have reached likewise conclusions, thereby proving the objective accuracy of the findings.

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