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One reason is that gambling at home may increase people's susceptibility to pathological gambling through the ease and frequency with which they can gamble. Another reason is that gambling at home may contribute to other personal problems. In particular, gambling at home is likely to increase passive leisure activity and solo gambling, and it may displace time spent on active, social interaction (including social gambling excursions with others and table games at home).
Computer-based gambling at home may have effects similar to those of watching television. Empirical work suggests that television-watching reduces social interaction (Jackson-Beeck and Robinson, 1981; Neuman, 1991; Maccoby, 1951). At the individual level, social disengagement is associated with poor quality of life and diminished physical and psychological health. Time studies show that social interactions are among the most pleasant experiences people have (Robinson and Godbey, 1997). People who have close ties with local friends, neighbors, and family have available to them social support that seems to buffer them from life stresses (Cohen and Wills, 1985). One study also shows that the social support that people get from distant acquaintances, friends, and family is less effective in buffering daily stress than the support they get from their local friends and neighbors (Wellman and Wortley, 1990b). Compared with people who have little social contact in their lives, people with more social contact are physically healthier, mentally healthier, and happier (e.g., Cohen and Wills, 1985).
Gambling at home also may encourage passive, sedentary activity, as watching television does. Recent epidemiological research has linked television-watching with reduced physical activity and diminished physical and mental health (Anderson and Van Der Heijden, 1998). Gambling by adolescents is correlated with watching television and other passive leisure-time activities (Junger and Wiegersma, 1995).
Computers and telecommunications are changing the gambling industry, individuals' opportunities to gamble, and the social context of gambling. The effects of these technologies, espe-