Legalization and regulations for online gambling needed: study



    Research shows online gambling can be more dangerous than casino gambling

    LONDON, ON, July 15 /CNW/ - Believing online gambling has the potential
to become more habitual than casino gambling, a marketing professor with the
Richard Ivey School of Business is calling for legalization of online gambling
to allow for better regulation and to potentially reduce harmful effects.
    "One potential solution is to allow legitimate corporate sponsors, like
the corporations that run the major casinos in Las Vegas or the government
sponsors in Canada, to enter into a newly regulated market for online
gambling," said June Cotte, Associate Professor of Marketing and George and
Mary Turnbull Fellow, Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of
Western Ontario. "Just as legalized commercial gambling in casinos allows
governments to regulate it, so, too, could the legalization of online gambling
allow for better regulation and attempts to reduce the growth of problem
gamblers."
    For the study, "Blackjack in the Kitchen: Understanding Online Versus
Casino Gambling," to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research in the
winter of 2009, Cotte and colleague Kathryn A. Latour (University of Nevada,
Las Vegas) interviewed 20 regular casino gamblers and 10 regular online
gamblers using pictures as stimuli to learn what gambling feels like and how
it is perceived. Results show online gamblers gamble more frequently and
aggressively.
    That's because casino gambling, which requires travel to an outside
location, is more difficult to hide. In contrast, access to online gambling is
as easy as the click of a computer mouse and is easily integrated into daily
home routines, meaning more time can be spent on gambling. In addition, online
gambling lacks social interaction so participants are involved for the game,
rather than other aspects, which may appeal to their competitive streak and
increase the risk of addiction.
    "The unregulated online environment results in a more chaotic environment
with no clear social norms and rules. The meaning of gambling changes, moving
from a shared conviviality available in the casino to a no-holds-barred battle
online. It brings out the gamblers' more competitive side," said Cotte. "When
not seen as reserved solely as behavior for an outing or a special occasion,
gambling is more likely to become a pernicious, insidiously integrated
component of a consumer's life."
    This is particularly concerning because of the rise in online gambling.
Although online gambling is illegal or in a legal grey area in Canada and the
U.S., except when initiated by Canada's provincial lottery corporations, it is
still easily accessible through Internet companies located offshore. According
to the study, more than $10 billion annually is spent worldwide by consumers
on online gambling.
    In contrast, casino gambling, which is now legal in all but two U.S.
states, is highly regulated and scrutinized. Cotte and Latour suggest
legalizing and regulating online gambling, similar to the way casino gambling
is regulated, may help reduce the incidences of problem gambling. Some
strategies that could be tied into online regulations include:

    
    -   Better use of age checks when signing up for an online account;
    -   Cross-checking new users with lists of pathological gamblers;
    -   Setting financial limits on gambling and having the site communicate
        to gamblers that they are spending long hours and a lot of money;
    -   Making information available about problem gambling treatments via
        pop-ups on instant messages;
    -   Having an online gambling counselor available online;
    -   Mandatory "cooling-off periods," which force online gamblers to stop
        gambling for a pre-set amount of time before they are allowed to
        wager money from their accounts;
    -   Making tabulations of wins and losses more central and larger on the
        screen to increase the players' awareness of where they stand.
    

    Cotte and Latour also recommend online gambling casinos minimize use of
flashing bold graphics to signal wins to lessen the emotional experience for
gamblers.
    For more information, please contact June Cotte at (519) 661-3224,
jcotte@ivey.uwo.ca

    About the Richard Ivey School of Business, The University of Western
    Ontario

    The Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario
(www.ivey.ca) offers undergraduate (HBA) and graduate (MBA, Executive MBA and
PhD) degree programs in addition to non-degree Executive Development programs.
Ivey has campuses in London (Ontario), Toronto, and Hong Kong. Ivey recently
redesigned its curriculum to focus on Cross-Enterprise Leadership - a holistic
issues-based approach to management education that meets the demands of
today's complex global business world.





For further information:

For further information: Dawn Milne, Communications Specialist, Richard
Ivey School of Business, (519) 850-2536, dmilne@ivey.ca; Mary Weil, Manager of
Media and Public Relations, Richard Ivey School of Business, (416) 203-0664,
mweil@ivey.ca

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