Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 483–499 | Cite as

Expanding the Study of Internet Gambling Behavior: Trends Within the Icelandic Lottery and Sportsbetting Platform

  • Heather M. Gray
  • Guðberg K. Jónsson
  • Debi A. LaPlante
  • Howard J. Shaffer
Original Paper


As rates of Internet gambling participation increase worldwide, so too does the need to understand how people engage in this form of gambling. This study represents the first examination of actual Internet gambling records within Iceland, a Nordic country with an active Internet lottery market that imposes strict regulations on gambling operator licenses. We summarized electronic betting records of a cohort of subscribers to the Internet betting service provider Íslensk Getspá. We observed that the typical subscriber bet approximately 3 days per month and made fewer than two bets per gambling day, each worth approximately the equivalent of $4 US. Subscribers lost the bulk (96 %) of the amount they wagered, for a total loss of approximately $40 across the 2-year window of observation. Although these observations do not support the view of Internet gambling as an activity that is inherently risky for the typical subscriber, we did observe discontinuity across the distributions of gambling behavior, with the top 1 % of subscribers making more than three bets per day.


Internet gambling Risk behavior Lottery Sportsbetting Iceland 



We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Matthew Tom, Harvey Milkman, and Inga Dóra Sigfúsdóttir. The National Center for Responsible Gaming provided primary support for this study through an Early Investigator award to Heather Gray. The Division on Addiction also receives support from a variety of public and private sources including the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, St. Francis House, and the University of Nevada.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors has personal interests in Íslensk Getspá or its associated companies that would suggest a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10899_2013_9427_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather M. Gray
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guðberg K. Jónsson
    • 3
  • Debi A. LaPlante
    • 1
    • 2
  • Howard J. Shaffer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolMedfordUSA
  2. 2.Division on AddictionCambridge Health AllianceMedfordUSA
  3. 3.Human Behavior LaboratoryUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland

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