THE comforts of home and anonymity are luring growing numbers to internet gambling, say academics at Southern Cross University after undertaking Australia's biggest study into the latest betting trend.
All the evidence suggests that internet gambling is increasing in terms of the amount being spent and the number of people involved, and it doesn't look like slowing down, said Sally Gainsbury from the university's Centre for Gambling Education & Research.
A report she published last week with researchers from Sydney University surveyed 6682 internet gamblers to learn more about their behaviour.
The attractions of internet gambling include not having to leave the house or drive anywhere, 24-hour availability, convenience, lack of crowds and unpleasant people.
The main perceived disadvantages of internet gambling were that it is too convenient and that it is easier to spend more money at home where there are no limits applied to credit card use.
The study also showed that internet gamblers participate in a greater variety of gambling formats and are more frequently involved in gambling.
"This could indicate that consumers are adding internet gambling to an existing repertoire of gambling, or conversely, that internet gambling is facilitating a higher frequency of gambling given the high accessibility and convenience of this medium," Ms Gainsbury said. "It is likely that both causal pathways exist".
Understanding the impact of this new mode of gambling on existing and new players was an important contribution to the appropriate regulation of the activity, Ms Gainsbury said.