Online help for problem gambling: Why it is and is not being considered

Abstract

Despite an increasing prevalence of gambling problems, evidence suggests that most people do not receive help for their problems. The issue of stigma has been cited as a contributing factor. Technological advances have now made it possible for individuals who are concerned about stigma to seek help for their problems without making any personal disclosures. In this way, the inherent advantages of the Internet (privacy, convenience, safety and portability) help to ensure that assistance for problem gamblers is always available and that concerns about stigma are neutralized. Unfortunately, many who might benefit from Internet-based help are unaware of these possibilities, and treatment specialists and other health-care professionals may not direct problem gamblers to these services. This paper considers: What is available to problem gamblers through the Internet, what is known about the efficacy of such services, and possible reasons why problem gamblers have not been referred to the Internet by point-of-entry personnel. Implications for future action are discussed.

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