People who engage in Internet gambling, such as online poker, are more likely to use alcohol and marijuana than those who gamble offline, a new study suggests.
Online gamblers also were found to be involved in more types of gambling, and spent more money and time playing, PsychCentral.com reports.
Researchers from Concordia University in Montreal studied 8,456 offline-only gamblers and 111 people who gambled both online and offline. Participants were asked how often they gambled in the past year, how much money and time they spent gambling on a typical occasion, and how much alcohol and marijuana they used.
In a news release, lead researcher Sylvia Kairouz said it is not known whether Internet gambling creates substance abuse problems, or whether those who already have addictive behaviors are more likely to gamble online. “We need to conduct more research looking at individual characteristics, environmental conditions, the object of the addiction (poker, for example) and so on to help us understand whether this group is more at risk for gambling-related problems. The hope would be to ultimately find ways to identify who the people at risk are, why they are at risk and then try to develop preventive measures to reduce the possibility of excessive online gambling.”
The study appears in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking.