Why Online Gambling Is More Dangerous

By Alex Smith Apr 26, 2022

There’s no disputing that online gambling has made our lives a lot easier, especially when it comes to playing our favourite video slots and casino table games. It offers numerous benefits and can be far more problematic when compared to land-based casinos. With more online casinos launching than ever before, internet gambling is seeing all-time highs in popularity.

This has caused many to consider why online gambling is more dangerous. On this page, we will be looking at why many people believe that online gambling websites are more dangerous than casino gambling in land-based venues. To kick things off, we will look at some of the key factors contributing to why online gambling is more dangerous when compared to land-based casinos.

Why Online Gambling Can Be More Dangerous

With online gambling now available to anyone with an internet connection, joining an online casino and actively participating in internet gambling has never been so easy. With so many gambling sites, it’s only natural that online gambling addiction rates have skyrocketed.

However, it’s also important to point out that online gambling sites aren’t free from regulation. Online gambling regulators have been working hard to better protect players, focusing on preventing minors from accessing online gambling sites.

However, there are a few core reasons why online gambling is considered more dangerous than gambling at land-based casinos.

Readily Available

One of the most common complaints from critics about the online gambling world is the accessibility of online gambling. There are thousands of online casinos, which makes online casino gambling readily available. For example, there are thousands of different online casinos in the UK and Europe alone, all of which tempt new players into joining with lucrative sign-up bonuses and promotions.

While a greater selection of online casinos may seem like a good thing, if a player wants to enter into a self-exclusion agreement at an online casino, they can no longer spend a few hours manually excluded from the casinos they play at. Now, this is pointless, as there are so many different sites to choose from and players can simply join a new platform.

Some online gambling regulators like the UKGC have worked hard to combat this. GAMSTOP, for example, was created to allow players to enter into self-exclusion at all online casinos that have a UK license. Those outside the UK are left with relatively few options, and this can lead to issues as there’s no shortage of internet gambling sites to join.

Signs That It’s More Addictive

Due to the fast-paced, action-packed nature, many critics argue that online gambling is far more addictive than gambling in land-based casinos. While plenty of research needs to be done to confirm this, there is growing evidence that online gamblers may be more prone to addiction when compared to those gambling frequently in land-based casinos for many reasons.

First of all – online gambling is easy. Depositing money into your online casino account can be done at the press of a button. Unlike in land-based casinos where you have to physically get up, walk to an ATM, and detach yourself from the situation, this just isn’t the case with online gambling. You can deposit thousands of dollars in seconds, and high betting limits mean you can spin through that deposit in a few seconds, depending on the stake size you choose to bet.

Many experts, however, believe that it’s the detachment from reality that causes many who run into problems with online gambling to fare worse off than those who frequently play in land-based casinos. For example, you’re glued to a screen. Because the money isn’t in chip format in front of you, it can become pretty easy to lose all regard for money. You may spend far more than you ever would in land-based casinos, even if you consider yourself a relatively sensible, responsible gambler. 

Rogue/Unlicensed Online Gambling Sites

One of the issues that’s currently facing the online gambling industry is the number of rogue/illegal casinos that are setting up shop and taking bets from players illegally. These sites are usually unlicensed, and sometimes they run fake or pirated games – games which are almost certainly rigged against the player.

Online gambling regulators like the UKGC has been working hard to prevent sites like this from accepting players from banned jurisdictions. However, it’s virtually impossible to police the entire web – especially when many of these rogue casinos use cryptocurrencies to get around bans on using conventional payment methods like debit and credit cards and EWallets.

Unfortunately, with stricter online gambling restrictions – particularly in the UK – some players are searching for these rogue casinos simply because they want to be able to gamble online on their terms. While those who access online gambling sites that don’t hold a valid online gambling license aren’t guaranteed to get scammed, it’s not good practice to play at these crypto sites. It appears as though regulators are pretty powerless to stop their spread.

There’s Not Always Customer Protection

Another point that many critics point toward when it comes to online casino gambling is that there are not always the same levels of consumer protection that you enjoy when playing at land-based casinos. This is especially magnified when you consider how quickly regulations are changing online.

One of the biggest groups ’at risk’ from online casino gambling is those who spend large amounts of money. Even the rogue casinos will occasionally payout winnings when they see fit, but when it comes to high-rollers or those who’ve won large amounts of money, problems can quickly arise. For example, some shady casinos will stall withdrawals for as long as possible, and unlicensed casinos may stop responding to player messages altogether.

If the casino doesn’t hold a valid online gambling license when things like this go wrong, players have virtually no recourse. Their only option is to issue a chargeback with their bank, but even if this is successful, it won’t help the player recoup any lost winnings – only the deposits they spent.

Thankfully, things aren’t as bad as they used to be – and the online gambling industry is becoming more regulated than in the past. Still, lawmakers and online gambling firms alike have more work to do. New laws need to be passed with online gambling specifically in mind to protect players better.

Can Spend Money Very Fast

Another major criticism of online casino gambling is that players can spend so much money in such short periods. For example, in most land-based casinos, the maximum stake on a slot machine is typically $20. While this is still high, some online casinos allow players to wager $500 per spin. This means it’s possible to spin through tens of thousands of dollars in just a few minutes – potentially causing financial ruin to those who engage in such activities.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s also much easier to deposit money at online casinos than it is when compared to land-based casinos. You can fund your online casino gambling account with thousands of dollars with just a few clicks. Many believe that this simplicity means online gambling addiction is on the rise.

Of course, everyone does carry responsibility for their actions in all aspects of life – and internet gambling is no exception. However, research shows that online gambling may be more dangerous than casino gambling. We’re likely to see a lot more research and studies carried out in the coming years to study this further.

What Are Regulators Doing To Help Online Gamblers?

When online gambling started becoming a ‘thing’, the industry was very loosely regulated. As with most things on the internet, governments worldwide didn’t know how to deal with internet gambling, so it took a very long time for online gambling regulators to start to emerge and regulate the sites that players were playing at online.

Many of these online gambling regulators have implemented new rules and regulations designed to curb online gambling addiction and help those struggling with it. We’re going to look at a few of the key measures the regulators have taken over the last few years.

Bans on Using Credit Cards

In 2019 the UK’s Gambling Commission sent shockwaves through the industry, banning players from gambling using credit cards. This change wasn’t solely for online casinos; it’s also relevant in land-based casinos – and when you think about it, it makes sense.

When you gamble with your debit card, at least you’re losing money you actually have; with credit cards, however, you’re losing money that you don’t physically have – and you then have to pay this money back. This was causing many players to gamble beyond their means, and some simply didn’t have a way to actually pay the money back.

Mandating Responsible Gambling Tools

All iGaming regulators require their licensees to offer players a wide variety of responsible gambling tools. These responsible gambling tools allow players to self-limit how much they’re gambling online. For example, the most common type of responsible gambling tool you’ll find offered at online casinos is the deposit limit function. This allows you to limit the amount of money that you can deposit on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Another good example of a responsible gambling tool found at most online casinos is the session-limit setting. This lets you choose how long you want to spend gambling each day; once you’ve surpassed this limit, you will not be able to continue gambling.

Self-exclusion is something that all licensed casinos must, by law, also offer. It lets you block your account on a long-term basis (up to 5 years), during which you won’t be able to log in, place bets or deposit any money.

Removing Online Casino Feature Buys

While feature buys have become incredibly popular with many players on video slots (first made really popular by Big Time Gaming), it was clear that the ability to stake hundreds of dollars on a free spins bonus round could be problematic for some. That’s why some regulators have been working to ban them altogether.

In the UK, players can no longer use any feature buy mechanics; the UKGC has outlawed them completely. We’ll likely see other iGaming regulators following suit in the near future.

Affordability Checks

Perhaps the most controversial item on this list is the affordability check. Most players agree that it’s an infringement on their rights to do what they want as a free, private citizen.

Some regulators – mainly the UKGC – are now forcing casinos to run affordability checks on their players. This means that you’ll be required to prove how much you earn every month and your monthly outgoings. The casino will then check that you’re gambling within your means – and if they feel you’re not, they may impose a deposit limit on your account that you have no control over.