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Who's Afraid of Online Gambling?

Topic closed. 5 replies. Last post 10 years ago by Coin Toss.

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Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
Zeta Reticuli Star System
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Posted: July 24, 2006, 10:27 pm - IP Logged

Chicago Tribune 7-23-06:

 Steve Chapman
WHO'S AFRAID OF ONLINE GAMBLING?


Published July 23, 2006

In the last few decades, legal gambling has gone from being the exception to being the norm. Once upon a time, you had to look hard and travel far to find it. Nowadays, if you chance to venture out the front door, odds are good it will find you.

It's available through lotteries, casinos and racetracks across the country. It's allowed in some form in every state except Utah and Hawaii. It's even a mainstay on ESPN, where poker is considered a spectator sport.

In this day and age, being indicted for running a gambling operation may sound as unlikely as getting busted for fornication. But it happened the other day to David Carruthers, chief executive of BetOnSports, a British corporation listed on the London Stock Exchange. What was his crime? Not running the office Super Bowl pool, but arranging for people to bet in a venue where it is forbidden: the Internet.

In case existing laws aren't enough, Congress may place Internet gambling even further beyond the pale, in an attempt to stamp out a business that takes in some $6 billion a year from Americans. This month, the House of Representatives approved a bill outlawing the use of credit cards and other electronic payments for online betting.

Well, some forms of online betting. Interstate wagers on horse races would be allowed. So would some online lotteries run by state governments.

In the old days, the law almost universally took the view that all forms of gambling were evil and destructive. We have progressed. Now the House takes the view that one form of gambling is evil and destructive.

Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) says, "Internet gambling's characteristics are unique: Online players can gamble 24 hours a day from home; children may play without sufficient age verification; and betting with a credit card can undercut a player's perception of the value of cash, leading to gambling addiction, bankruptcy and crime." University of Illinois business professor John Kindt warns, "You just click the mouse and lose your house."

Of course, similar warnings used to be issued about other types of gambling. But experience has shown that almost everyone is able to avoid these perils--either by wagering in moderation or by abstaining altogether. A study by Harvard Medical School's Division on Addictions found that only 1.6 percent of adults are likely to develop a compulsion, making gambling far less addictive than drugs, cigarettes or alcohol.

The bulk of the evidence indicates that legalizing casinos doesn't cause crime. You can go bankrupt by making bad bets at the roulette wheel or the racetrack, but you can also attain poverty by speculating in stocks or real estate.

Are gamblers more likely to self-destruct from the home office than at Caesars Palace, surrounded by high rollers, alluring hostesses and dazzling decor? Not likely. As Chapman University law professor Tom Bell has noted, critics of casinos "fault them for luring consumers into windowless caverns far from the real world, with gambling traps at every turn and free-flowing booze." You would think those critics would welcome an option that lets people bet without venturing into dens of vice.

As for a house-losing mouse click, not many people have credit-card limits high enough to permit it, even if they were so reckless. Most Americans who gamble keep their wagers within the limits of affordability. Being able to play online is not going to suddenly drive them insane with greed.

The casino industry argues that it's wiser to place Internet betting under government supervision than to drive it underground where consumers have little protection. David Carruthers, before his arrest, took pride in policies his company had implemented to bar minors and compulsive gamblers, and said regulation would strengthen those controls.

MGM Mirage opened an offshore operation "to prove that online casino gaming could be implemented with the same high standards of regulatory integrity as land-based operations," and says it succeeded "in demonstrating a working model that provided the proper checks for jurisdictional control, age verification and the necessary security and responsible gaming measures."

Though these claims can't be taken on faith, they show the industry is open to coupling online access with measures designed to prevent abuses. The House, however, insists the only protection is prohibition.

But gambling is now part of the national landscape, and so is the Internet. Individually, we don't fear either. Why should a combination of the two be so scary?

----------

Steve Chapman is a member of the Tribune's editorial board. E-mail: schapman@tribune.com

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/premium/printedition/Sunday/perspective/chi-0607230053jul23,1,5237410.column 

    Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
    Zeta Reticuli Star System
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    Posted: July 24, 2006, 10:28 pm - IP Logged

    Hello:

    MGM Mirage opened an offshore operation...

      dvdiva's avatar - 8ball

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      Posted: July 25, 2006, 2:02 am - IP Logged

      The biggest online operators so far are out of the UK. Not surprised that MGM would consider having an offshore internet presence. I'm sure other multi-national corporate gaming interests will join them. I'm also not surprised by the corruption on the part of those trying to stop the inevitable.

        BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
        Dump Water Florida
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        Posted: July 25, 2006, 2:36 am - IP Logged

        When you go to a land casino in the U.S. the games are either fair by their very nature or electronic and checked to be sure you are playing the game at the posted odds. 

        With online casinos I suspect the games play you.  If nothing else, everything that's wrong with computer lottery drawings is worse for online casinos conducting unwatched operations. 

        Let's see, you want to open an online casino, the playing of which will be "illegal" where most of your customers reside.  You have the choice of totally fair and honest software or software that guarantees you a profit.  Which would you choose?

        Before I even think about playing at an online casino, I look for the affiliate link.  Most people won't click the affiliate link because they don't have a web site to promote the casino, but you can learn a lot by clicking this link.

        What you mainly learn, is what the casino is willing to pay webmasters for new players, out of their take.  When a casino is willing to pay 35% to over 50% for suckers (cough) customers, how much do you think they plan to pay out in winnings to their players? 

        The funny thing is, the online casinos that offer the highest affiliate payment percentage are also the most likely not to pay their affiliates.  (Just in case you were thinking this is a good way to get rich quick. )

        What online casinos pay affiliates isn't a guarantee of honesty, simply one of many indicators, such as whether you can get your money out without paying high fees, etc.  

        Check what they pay affiliates before you play. BobP

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          Coastal Georgia
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          Posted: July 25, 2006, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

          Good post, BobP.

          I agree... 

          Myself, I would never gamble on an online casino- way too risky.

          RNG stands for "rapidly no green" to me.

          I still would like the opportunity to purchase lottery tickets online, but that to me is a different animal.

          DD

           

                                         

                        

           

           

            Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
            Zeta Reticuli Star System
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            January 17, 2006
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            Posted: July 25, 2006, 7:18 pm - IP Logged

            Excellent post BobP......

            For all the various tghreads here n LP about RNG's I wondered about some of the support for online casinos. 

            When the internet was growing and some of the first sports books showed up "offshore" it was basically good luck with trying to collect any winnings.