Harvard Research Problem Gambling
Renowned problem gambling expert Howard J. Shaffer of Harvard University and his colleague Ryan Martin recently published his latest research paper titled “Disordered Gambling: Etiology, Trajectory and Clinical Considerations” in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology.
Shaffer’s research indicated that problem gambling has declined somewhat and that internet gambling does exacerbate problem gambling. The Chicago Tribune who interviewed Shaffer reported his study on problem gambling in greater detail.
Land-based gambling has increased significantly over the last three decades. The frequency of problem gambling has dropped from 0.7% to 0.6%. Shaffer told the Chicago Tribune that a large proportion of Americans see gambling as a controllable and enjoyable pastime. He also lambasted the view propagated by anti internet gambling politicians and lobbyists that internet gambling poses a far greater risk of creating problem gamblers. Shaffer said, “People gambling on the internet change from gambling more to less in weeks. We never would have predicted that. The extent of internet gambling at best of times is surprisingly modest.”
Based on his study on internet gambling Shaffer shared some very interesting facts with the Chicago Tribune. A mere 1% of the world’s gambling population wager online. There is no tangible proof that exposure to internet gambling increased their risk of becoming addicted. At this point in time only 0.6% of gamblers in the United States are classified as problem gamblers. Shaffer’s studies indicated that approximately 75% of addiction problems are beyond gambling. The crux of the matter is that the other addictions preceded the addiction of internet gambling. If one has to provide a breakdown of substance abuse rampant among problem gamblers Shaffer pointed out that 75% have addicted to alcohol, 38% are addicted to drugs and 60% are chain smokers.
Shaffer and Martin’s research further enhanced Harvard’s problem gambling data base. A twofold objective is involved when this knowledge is researched. The first is to facilitate proper analytical and treatment regimes. The second is to cultivate a balanced and measured approach on problem gambling based on facts as opposed to a politically fueled opinion or emotional anti-gambling ramblings.
Shaffer’s research on problem gambling explored all avenues. They substantiated their findings with that of other researches. Worth mentioning is that some of the research done on problem gambling is sponsored by some of the major internet casinos such as Bwin. However, regulatory authorities like the UK Gambling Commission reported similar findings. In conclusion, while problem gambling can have dire and tragic ramifications it should not always be seen as the scapegoat for all the ills of modern society.[addtoany]