Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Does Internet Gambling Self-Exclusion Work?

Tobias Hayer and Gerhard Meyer were the source for a previous post on the effectiveness of casino self-exclusion. In 2011, they published an article that looked at self-exclusion from an Austrian internet gambling site (12-page pdf here). Internet gambling, in its currently fragmented state, would seem to be not all that fertile a ground for self-exclusion programs, at least those that apply to but a single e-gaming operator. Instead of having to drive to a different casino (and one owned by a different company), self-excluded e-gamblers would only have to establish an account at a different website. Further, there is some evidence that internet gamblers are more likely than bricks-and-mortar casino players to be problem gamblers. On the other hand, as internet gambling self-exclusion involves no face-to-face meetings, people concerned with their internet gambling behavior might be less shy than terrestrial gamblers about seeking out self-exclusion. (There are various routes to broader self-exclusion from internet gambling, too.)

Hayer and Meyer find that self-exclusion from a single internet casino tends to work, in the sense that gambling frequency, amounts, and problems decline following self-exclusion. The number of self-excluded gamblers who participated in the follow-up surveys is fairly small, so the results should not be relied upon too heavily. Nonetheless, the results are consistent with what we know about land-based exclusions, as well as our rudimentary pre-existing knowledge of web-gambling exclusion: internet self-exclusion seems to lead to reduced gambling problems.

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