Online poker is considered more at-risk than land-based poker in terms of intense gambling behaviors and gambling problems. The development of many online gambling sites has raised public health concerns about the potential increase in online poker players. Longitudinal studies are useful to better understand the evolution of gambling behaviors; however, very few consider online poker players. Using a prospective design, this study aims to identify online and land-based trajectories over a two-year period and the factors influencing those trajectories.
Results are based on data collected at three time-points over the course of a prospective cohort study conducted in Quebec (n = 304). A latent class growth analysis was performed to determine trajectories based on the main poker modality played, either online or land-based poker. Multinomial multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the correlates of poker playing trajectories.
Over two years, three poker playing trajectories were identified, comprising two stable trajectories [stable land-based (51.5%) and stable online (36.3%)] and an unstable trajectory [unstable online land-based (12.1%)]. The second trajectory included online poker players at baseline who transitioned to land-based poker. Number of gambling activities increased the odds of being in the first trajectory as compared to the others. Severity of gambling problems was a significant predictor of the second “unstable” or the third “stable online” trajectories, but not for the first “stable land-based” poker trajectory.