It has been nearly half a decade since the Keystone State greenlit online gambling within its borders. This was a huge deal for the state’s thriving gambling sector. Not only did it mean players would now have access to safer, localized, and regulated online gambling services but also that there was now a new revenue stream. Both the state coffers and the gambling operators reaped huge gains from this development.
The financial impacts of iGaming in Pennsylvania have been documented and reported every month. However, some aspects have not been getting that much attention. One of these areas is the social aspect of the state’s vibrant online gambling scene.
Penn State researchers in collaboration with the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) have recently released a report detailing the behavior of online gamers in the state. According to the report, about 1 in 10 Pennsylvanians indulge in interactive gaming in one way or the other.
The report further revealed that:
- Men in the state are more likely than women to be partaking in online gambling.
- Sports betting is the most popular form of online gambling activity accounting for nearly half of all gambling activities in Pennsylvania.
- Avid gamblers spent up to whopping 6 hours a week gambling online.
- About half of the online gamers in the state exhibited one or more problem gambling behavior.
A Cause for Concern?
Well, concerns about the detrimental effects of online gambling have always lingered in the background. The private nature of the industry makes it a complex issue to dissect. This has, in turn, made identifying a need for intervention somewhat complicated.
Even so, the report has kicked off a much-needed process that will help in monitoring problem gambling in the population. We still need to get a better understanding of the implications that come with the activity and weigh that against the benefits which have been highlighted significantly.
“We believe that by collecting this information on a yearly basis, we will be able to obtain a more accurate picture of the impact of this policy change on Pennsylvania communities. If intervention is necessary, this evaluation will aid in the development of a data-driven response.”Glenn Sterner, lead researcher on the assessment, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Social Science Research Institute co-funded faculty member.
Online gambling is enjoying more attention than ever. With the pandemic-induced increase in traffic to the gambling platforms, now might be the best time to increase efforts to address any issues relating to the negative impacts of gambling in Pennsylvania.