Online Gambling refers to the use of a computer to place wagers on sporting events, casino games and other types of gambling. In some cases, players download software to their computers to play games, but most games are played directly at Web sites using high-technology software that simulates the real thing. Many of these sites also allow players to communicate with each other and share their experiences while playing.
Several studies have suggested that the act of gambling may trigger a number of psychological and behavioral effects in some individuals. One of the most commonly cited is the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Another is the variable reinforcement that occurs when a gambler wins or loses. This can lead to an increased desire to gamble, as the gambler tries to recoup losses and increase gains. Some people also turn to gambling as an escape from stressful or negative emotions and develop a reliance on it.
The United States government prohibits the transfer of money between financial institutions that cater to casinos, but this does not prevent individuals from using alternative methods to fund their gambling activities. Many Internet users make use of offshore payment processors or casinos, which are not regulated by the United States and are privately held. Identifying, detecting and acting on early risk indicators could help reduce gambling-related harms sustained by Internet gamblers.