A study published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) finds that people who gamble online may have more serious gambling addictions than gamblers who wager in land casinos.

The APA issued a health advisory on Internet gambling.

The study questioned 389 users of the dental and medical clinic at the University of Connecticut. Thirty one of the study participants had gambled on the Internet; 14 of those reported doing so weekly.

"We're not seeing a lot of recreational gambling on the Internet," said Nancy Petry, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut Health Center and one of the study's authors.

"The Internet seems to attract people who are prone to or who have already developed a gambling problem."

The study suggests that young people are at special risk. "Younger people tend to be involved in risk-taking behavior," said Petry. "They have higher rates of gambling in general. Younger people are more likely to use computers."

The APA said that Internet gambling is more dangerous than visiting a land-based casino because problem gamblers can play alone, uninterrupted and unnoticed.

Also, regular or heavy users of the Internet were more likely to participate in Internet gambling than other users.

From APA Issues Health Advisory on Internet Gambling by Mika Takahashi, WINNERonline.com 18 March 2002

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