Problem gamblers are born, not made, a new study claims.
And South African psychologists who carried out the research also say the rise in irresponsible gaming is not as big as many people think — as little as 1 in 200 people have a tendency to go off the rails, and many of these will never gamble in the first place.
Researchers at the University of Capetown and the University of KwaZulu-Natal found no link between the availability of gaming opportunities — including online casinos — and problem gambling.
Instead, their report claims, real problem gamers are largely resistant to treatment — including drugs — and theorizes that the problem may lie in their genes.
The findings agree with other with recent studies in the US and Europe, which show the brains of problem gamblers are wired up differently.
The South African scientists DID identify a larger group of people who had simply gambled beyond their means and caused themselves “temporary financial distress”, but they quickly self-moderated their behavior, and were not considered addictive.
The new study weakens claims that more gambling — both online and off — will produce more problem gamblers.