Addiction to online gambling, especially sports betting, is already considered a mental disorder, which mainly affects men between 18 and 30 years old.
Discover the factors that lead to its appearance, and how to prevent it.
While many online casino sites like Casino True Blue encourage responsible gaming, some experts have raised the alarm regarding the availability and social normalization of online games, especially sports betting.
Why the concern?
They have done so due to the exponential increase in the number of cases in the last decade. Also, the young age of the typical patient is especially concerning, as it translates into a greater severity of the disorder, and also in the more rapid development of the problem.
From when young people begin to play, until the disorder develops, barely one- or two-years pass, while in the case of offline gaming, this process could take several years.
It is no coincidence then that online gambling addiction has been included in the latest manual of the American Psychiatric Association on mental disorders (DSM-5). According to data from a multicentre study, in the age group between 18 and 35, the main problem is, in 56.3% of cases, online gambling.
Young people hooked on sports betting, video games, online bingo …
People with online gambling addiction are mostly men (82%), with an average age of between 18 and 41 years in 62% of cases, and who are hooked on sports betting (52%), video games (25%) or online poker (12%), the three main gateways to this addiction, according to data recorded in the research work Profile of Addictions in 2019, prepared by the Addiction Attention Network.
In the specific case of women, the prevalence of online bingo (60%) as a reason for addiction is striking, although overall it barely represents 6% of cases.
Online gambling addiction is a growing concern. And it is not only because of the social alarm that has been aroused lately but also because this alarm is supported and corroborated by figures that confirm the exponential increase in this type of addiction, especially among young men between 18 and 30 years of age.
Online gambling addiction
What is revealed is that by type of game, in the sample as a whole, slot machines are still the main cause of addiction, with 74.2% of the subjects indicating them as the main game/problem.
However, if we focus our attention on the age group between 18 and 35, the main problem was online gambling (56.3% of the sample) and, especially, sports betting.
Particularities of online gambling addiction
Although they have characteristics very similar to gambling addicts addicted to any type of game, patients addicted to online gambling have a series of peculiarities, most of them derived from a very specific aspect: they are younger.
In the case of online gambling, the age of onset is lower, which from a clinical perspective is very relevant, because this early onset is associated with greater severity of the disorder.
It is also associated with faster development of the problem: usually in the face-to-face gambling scenario (machines, casino) the average years of evolution, from when a person begins to play until they develop the disorder, ranges between five and seven years. But in the case of online gambling, the process is much faster, between one and two years.
It is a complex problem, but, as a start, young players must be encouraged to use restraint when playing any online games or betting online. Too much of anything is bad! Self-imposed time and monetary limits should be used; a feature which many reputable gaming sites offer.