The Growing Popularity of Online Gambling

While Internet gambling is relatively new, it is gaining in popularity among consumers, with jurisdictions around the world regulating and legalizing it to protect the interests of consumers and generate tax revenue. Although the prevalence of internet gambling is low, participation is growing fast, particularly on regulated websites. For instance, in Australia, participation increased from 1 percent in 1999 to 8.1 percent in 2011. In the UK, 16 percent of respondents reported playing at least one form of online gambling in the past four weeks.

While gambling is legal in 48 states, Hawaii and Utah are among the few that have not legalized it. Their large Mormon populations have made regulation of gambling more difficult. Residents of Hawaii and Utah are particularly wary of gambling’s negative impact on family relationships. While little interest in legalizing online gambling is evident in both states, many people feel uncomfortable about the impact of the online gambling industry on their community. In addition, Internet gambling regulators have not mandated any preventative action, and further action depends on operator-initiated actions.

Internet gambling requires a computer with an internet connection. Early gambling sites were PC-only, but slowly introduced Mac compatibility. These days, online gambling websites are compatible with any laptop, PC, or even mobile devices. Even children can enjoy online gambling. And the benefits are numerous: online gambling allows people to gamble for real money without leaving home. In fact, 6 percent of British adults gamble online. That’s why online lottery ticket purchases may increase the number of people participating in the lottery.