The popularity of online gambling is rising. For example, Dutch people will be able to legally gamble online from January 2021. At the moment, still little is known about the effects of online gambling on gambling behaviour. The Belgian situation offers an interesting point of reference here: unlike the Netherlands, the online market there has been regulated for years. In this article we’ll tell you all about it.
In the study ‘Gambling and Gaming in Belgium: Opportunities and Risks associated with Online Digital Gambling’, researchers from Ghent University conducted research into online gambling in Belgium in 2016. By means of online questionnaires and in-depth interviews with (former) gamblers, they charted the possibilities and risks of online gambling.
Online gambling in the Netherlands will soon be legalized. The study of the Belgian online gambling market sketches a picture of what the situation in the Netherlands could look like. The Belgian study reveals a number of risks and benefits of online gambling, which can be taken into account in the Dutch plans to prevent addictions and other problems. The study also shows that certain media and applications appear to be more suitable for the online offer. For example, betting on sports matches via apps on smartphones and tablets has taken off in Belgium.
Percentage of high-risk players:
|N (total)||N (risky players)||% (risky players)|
|Electronic gambling machines||40||11||26.2%|
Disadvantages of online gambling
Some players are also aware of the risks of online gambling. Disadvantages most frequently mentioned are the easy access to spend money, greater addiction, difficulty in determining whether the game is fair, concerns about getting the prize paid and the fact that playing online is less sociable/social. Participants mentioned the following disadvantages of online gambling:
Gamblers: advertising for gambling is getting
out of hand
During the interviews in the study, various (former) gamblers indicated that, in their opinion, advertising for gambling is getting out of hand. Political developments in recent years show that this image is widely shared. Players also point to the possibilities offered by the data generated within the online offer to stimulate more responsible gaming behaviour. For example, players could be shown how long they have been playing and how much money they have won/lost. Players also have a mixed perspective on playing online: there are advantages and disadvantages. In short: the Dutch legalization of online gambling should be closely monitored from the perspective of gambling problem prevention. There are new opportunities, but also clear new risks we should be aware of.
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