Internet poker websites and pathological gambling prevention policy

Abstract

Despite the widespread increase in online poker playing and the risk related to excessive poker playing, research on online poker websites is still lacking with regard to pathological gambling prevention strategies offered by the websites. The aim of the present study was to assess the pathological gambling-related prevention strategies of online poker websites. Two keywords (“poker” and “poker help”) were entered into two popular World Wide Web search engines. The first 20 links related to French and English online poker websites were assessed. Seventy-four websites were assessed with a standardized tool designed to rate sites on the basis of accountability, interactivity, prevention strategies, marketing, and messages related to poker strategies. Prevention strategies appeared to be lacking. Whereas a substantial proportion of the websites offered incitation to gambling such as betting “tips,” few sites offered strategies to prevent or address problem gambling. Furthermore, strategies related to poker, such as probability estimation, were mostly reported without acknowledging their limitations. Results of this study suggest that more adequate prevention strategies for risky gambling should be developed for online poker.

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