There has been an explosive growth in the availability of online gambling, with online poker enjoying the fastest growth in popularity. To date, not much is known about poker players and the effects that this activity has on their lives.
To remedy the situation, Magali Dufour, research professor at the Université de Sherbrooke Insitute of Addiction, carried out a study to document and compare the profiles of 200 poker players. Her research demonstrates that online gamblers are not the same as casino gamblers.
45% of online gamblers are at risk of becoming problem gamblers, with more than 10% being considered excessive gamblers.
While almost 45% of online gamblers are at risk of becoming problem gamblers, with more than 10% being considered excessive gamblers, these proportions are considerably lower among casino gamblers: 29% of those who gamble in casinos are at-risk gamblers and less than 2% are excessive gamblers. Furthermore, the study shows that online gamblers are more motivated by profit, while casino gamblers play primarily for pleasure, and for the competitive and social aspects of gambling.
Finally, the study shows that online gamblers spend more money and have more gambling-related problems than casino gamblers. When it comes to prevention and treatment strategies, Dufour recommends paying particular attention to online gamblers. She also points out that poker differs somewhat from other forms of gambling, as it requires a certain level of skill on the part of the player.
A targeted campaign recognizing the importance of skill could be more effective than current campaigns focusing on responsible gambling which, according to poker players, demonizes this activity.