It's been believed for years that online sports books and other gambling sites lead to a higher number of compulsive gamblers. New research indicates that's just not true.

Harvard University recently released a study concluding that increased online gambling doesn't result in an increase in compulsive gambling.

Howard Shaffer, an expert on gambling at Harvard, says there is no evidence that online gambling increases the risk of becoming addicted, and 75 percent of people who have online gambling addiction already suffer from addictions in other parts of life, such as drinking, smoking or drug abuse.

In addition to the study's results on online gambling, it also concluded the enormous increase in the number of casinos in America has not led to a similar rise in the rate of compulsive gamblers.

Surprisingly, over the last three-plus decades, the percentage of problem gamblers, when compared to the total number of gamblers, actually declined from seven in 1,000 to six in 1,000.

Covers.com says the Harvard study is significant because it was independent and not funded by pro- or anti-gambling groups who would have a vested interest in its results.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

Story continues below