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Harvard study finds that online gambling availability doesn’t increase addiction

TAGs: Harvard, Howard Shaffer

Online GamblingA Harvard professor has found that the online gambling industry being widely available has had effect on encouraging problem gambling and addiction.

Psychologist Howard Shaffer’s study, co-authored by Ryan Martin, is entitled “Disordered Gambling: Etiology, Trajectory, and Clinical Considerations” and was published in the “Annual Review of Clinical Psychology.” It focuses on the question of whether the “fundamental availability and strong expansion of internet gambling has been followed by increased occurrence of addiction as well.”

The two men found that “Despite a boom in online gambling and greater availability of the games, the ratio of “pathological gamblers” (those addicted to gambling) has remained relatively stable in the last 35 years and has not grown even during the era of strong growth in the online gambling industry.”

This would contradict the argument that the growth of the online gambling industry has meant the emergence of more and more people that have a gambling addiction. The findings of this Harvard study agrees more with the findings of the new Patron Saint of Gamblin’ Drinkin’ and Carryin’ on, Dr Patrick Basham, than anything else.

His book, Gambling: A Healthy Bet, included the theory that retirees who “remain active in the community and constantly engage in social activity, often, largely or exclusively through gambling, live happier and healthier lives.”

The Harvard study also found that addiction to gambling is far less than other addictions. It claims that around 5% of Americans have ever been addicted to gambling compared with 8.5% suffering from alcoholism, 25% nicotine and 30% have abused drugs at least once in the past.

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