Internet Gambling Essay

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This document will inform you about the history of internet gambling, the existing issues, and a number of concerns involved with online gambling. Prior to the launching of the World Wide Web in 1993 which changed the setting of gambling, people had to travel great distances to gamble. The worlds first virtual online casino, Internet Casinos, Inc. (ICI) commenced operation on August 18, 1995 with 18 different casino games.

Most of these online gambling companies are located outside of the U. S.to avoid government prosecution. ICI operates out of the Turks and Caicos Islands (Kish, 1999). One of the main reasons internet gambling started was because of costs. The value to start up an internet gambling site is around 1. 5 million dollars, which is half of what it costs to actually construct a casino. ICI estimates that the company averages about a twenty four percent profit margin, versus the typical United States casino, which ranges from eight percent to sixteen percent of each dollar wagered (Kish, 1999).

An estimated twenty million people are currently online with a projected 160 million online by the year 2020. The overall market for online gambling is estimated to be approximately $49 billion worldwide (Kish, 1999). The history of internet gambling is only a decade old, however, its history will hold on for several more. There are several existing issues facing internet gambling. The first issues we will discuss are how to regulate internet gambling.

The question raised by the emergence of Internet gambling is whether old lawsbased mainly on a world of atomsare still viable, and if not, in which way the Internet should be regulated (Walther, 2000). Some scholars believe that internet gambling needs to be regulated, and of course there are those that say let the owners of the sites regulate themselves. Regulatory procedures can be targeted at either or both of the providers and the consumers of gambling services.

In the case of consumers, regulation is usually implemented by age, through prohibition of the participation of minors. Procedures might also be contrived to prohibit problem gamblers or undischarged bankrupts from engaging in gambling (Clarke, 2000). Another existing problem with internet gambling is The Wire Act which was intended to assist the states, territories and possessions of the United States, as well as the District of Columbia, in enforcing their respective laws on gambling and bookmaking and to suppress organized gambling activities.

Subsection (a) of the Wire Act, a criminal provision, provides: Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both (Rodefer, 2003).

During the House of Representatives debate on the bill, Congressman Emanuel Celler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee stated [t]his bill only gets after the bookmaker, the gambler who makes it his business to take bets or to lay off bets. . . It does not go after the causal gambler who bets $2 on a race (Rodefer, 2003). What the government is having a problem with is that most internet gambling sites are run ran in foreign countries, and they cannot enforce this act against them. What they are trying to do is change the act to include these third parties.

An example of this is the introduction of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1997 (Walther, 2000). The bill would have prohibited Internet gambling by extending the Wire Acts prohibitions on traditional forms of gambling by phone or wire to the Internet (Walther, 2000). This amendment would provide penalties for online bets and wagers. This so far seems to be the best solution, however ethical and moral dilemmas still rest in the hands of our lawmakers today. The next issue facing internet gambling is taxes. This seems to be the governments biggest issue.

This is because of the billions of dollars we mentioned for profit by these online sites, government can gain significant amount of money from it. The legalization of Internet gambling may cause states to lose some revenue generated from legalized gambling operations because many gamblers would spend their money online (Lassani, 1998). Moreover, states lose revenue by not being able to tax gamblers who win over the Internet. Gamblers who win over the Internet have an incentive not to pay taxes on their winnings because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) lacks the resources to track online gamblers (Lassani, 1998).

The likelihood of addiction to Internet gambling among both children and adults is an extremely important concern. In relation to addiction, children are more likely to become addicted to something new than adults (Smith, 2004). For example, the video game-like nature of virtual casinos, labeled the crack cocaine of gambling, could make online gambling a temptation difficult to resist. Furthermore, the fact that the Internet gambler need not leave the comfort and privacy of his or her home could mean that an individual might become easily addicted.

This is the worst thing about internet gambling, because there will not be anyone to detect if a person is addicted or not. Consequently the only aid they will get is their selves, and that leaves the player defenseless against the dependence of gambling. Having to go to the casino to gamble has better chances of knowing who is addicted and who is not, they have hired hands to detect this problem, unlike the home atmosphere. Kevin ONeill, Deputy Director of New Jerseys Council on Compulsive Gambling says The real threat comes from the isolation and secrecy of the betting activity itself.

I call this threat the cave syndrome due to the gamblers isolated behavior and hidden activity (Wharry, 2001). In closing the short lived World Wide Web as created pandemonium with our lawmakers. The dilemma of how everyone interprets the Wire Act is a major concern. The efforts to amend it to make all users liable for using the websites are tiresome, and stopping foreigners from creating internet gambling sites seems never-ending since the United States cannot control them.

In just over a decade there are over twenty million users, expected to increase to 160 million in the next 14 years. Its revenue is over 49 billion dollars and increasing. There are more profit margins with online gambling than the traditional casino. The cost to create a gambling web is 1. 5 million dollars compared to the 300 million to build a casino, this creates profit and increases attendance because of its trouble-free access.

One important concern with internet gambling is addiction. Children are easily addicted to new things than adults and it will make it harder to control and detect gambling addiction. Internet gambling is a good creation for those people who can control themselves, but for those who cannot have a greater chance to end up bankrupt. Thus we can see from this example alone, why lawmakers are having such problems to secure the problem, do they let it carry on or let people put themselves in jeopardy of losing everything.

Michael Bolcerek the President of The Poker Group said, Its a personal liberty issue with regard to how you spend your money and what you see over the Internet(Roth, 2006). References: Clarke, R. (2000, December). The feasibility of regulating gambling on the internet . Retrieved May 5, 2006, from Regulations of internet gambling Web site: http://www. anu. edu. au/people/Roger. Clarke/II/FeasIGR. html Kish, S. (1999). An analysis of the governments role in addressing internet gambling. Betting on the Net, 51(no 2), 449-6. Lessani, A.

M. (1998, May). How much do you want to bet that the internet gambling prohibition act of 1997 is not the most effective way to tackle the problems of online gambling.

Retrieved May 4, 2006, from The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act: An Analysis Web site: http://www. gseis. ucla. edu/iclp/alessani. html Rodefer, J. (2003). Federal wire wager act. Retrieved May 5, 2006, from Gambling-Law- US. com Web site: http://www. gambling-law-us. com/Federal-Laws/wire-act. htm Roth, B. (2006, April 25).

Foes try to squelch online gambling.Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, [1]. Smith, A. (2004). Controversial and emerging issues associates with eybergambling (e-casinos). Online Information Review. 28(6), 435-443. Walther, F. M. (2000). A comparative u. s. -swiss perspective. Retrieved May 5, 2006, from Internet Gambling Related Regulatory Questions and Enforcement Problems Web site: http://stlr. stanford. edu/STLR/Events/gambling/contents_f. html#note5 Wharry, S. (2001). E-Gambling threat worries addiction experts. You Bet Your Life, 165, 325.

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