Online Casinos and UK Problem Survey

Published on: September 17, 2009 

A new survey that was conducted by the UK Gambling Commission has returned different results than most expected.  There have been a number of impartial studies completed, not only in the United Kingdom but also in other parts of the world.  These surveys are often completed by well- respected sources, yet this new survey has many wondering if these sources are truly as impartial as they are supposed to be.  Places such as Harvard Medical School, the government of South Africa, and the National Council on Problem Gambling have all offered surveys.

The results of the surveys are being called into question as most of these survey takers have widely varied results that they have published.  The current study by the British Gambling center concluded that problem gambling is ten times more prominent among online casino patrons than in the land based gaming zone.  Yet Dr. Howard Shaffer of Harvard Med stated after a two year study that online casino gambling showed a lower rate of issues over that of the land based casinos.

Dan Rose, a professor in South Africa found results that also showed less issues in online casinos than in land based locations.  Keith Whyte of the US National Council on gambling stated there was no variance between online casinos and land based casinos, even in areas with looser laws or prohibition of online gambling.

The United Kingdom survey was done by Dr. Mark Griffiths with Professor Jim Orford as part of the study.  Griffiths remarked that the study found online casino gambling more likely to contribute to addiction or issues with gambling than the land based locals.  However, the background of both scientists was recently reviewed.  It was discovered that Griffiths is noted for rejecting the “theory of addictive personality”. Basically it is the theory that substance does not cause the issue, but a mental disorder.  Other studies have found that addictive behavior can actually cross both categories and it may also be an issue of dopamine production.  Griffiths does not believe in this.

Orford began an organization two years ago called StopGam.  The organization is meant to prevent wider gambling laws and the eventual increase of gambling in the United Kingdom.  The studies validity has not been assessed, but many believe the results are most likely skewed based on other studies around the world that have found the opposite is true.

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