British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 secondary analysis: Socio-demographic correlates of internet gambling

Abstract

This study provides the first ever analysis of a representative national sample of internet gamblers. Using participant data from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey (n = 9003 adults aged 16 years and over), all participants who had gambled online, bet online, and/or who had used a betting exchange in the last 12 months (n = 476) were compared with all other gamblers who had not gambled via the internet. Overall, results showed a number of significant socio-demographic differences between internet gamblers and noninternet gamblers. When compared to non-internet gamblers, internet gamblers were more likely to be male, relatively young adults, single, well educated, and in professional/ managerial employment. Further analysis of {DSM-IV} scores showed that the problem gambling prevalence rate was significantly higher among internet gamblers than noninternet gamblers. It was also found that some items on the {DSM-IV} were more heavily endorsed by internet gamblers including gambling preoccupation and gambling to escape. Although the data does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about causation, the results may mean that the medium of the internet may be more likely to contribute to problem gambling than off-line gambling environments. However, more work is needed in this area if firm conclusions are to be drawn.

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