Online Gambling: Should it be Legal?
Online gambling is an extremely addictive, so-called hobby. According to many researchers, there are many more negative effects than positive effects that result from online gambling. The negative effects include: impeded career growth, loss of family, financial instability, and unsafe transactions. Since 2006, online gambling in the United States is illegal at a Federal level, but some states have adopted it as legal in the state legislature. As stated in Griffiths? and Parke?s research, between 5 and 10 million people have an online gambling problem in the United States; along with that, on average, 2.3 Billion U.S Dollars is spent on online gambling each year worldwide (312). That means three to five percent of all Americans have at least a minor, if not major, addiction to online gambling. All those statistics clearly show that online gambling is a serious issue among the 50 States, and across the globe.
People have been gambling for hundreds, if not, thousands of years. Among the longest played games is roulette, which started being played in the early 18th century (313). Other popular games played in the past are Blackjack, Cribbage, Pinochle, and Dsands. Dsands is an Egyptian card game that many people relate to the modern Poker. Today, behind slot machines, Poker is the second largest form of gambling in the United States. Along with Poker, there are many other games that can be played on the internet. They include online slots, sports betting, bingo, and many other types of games. With the improvement of technology, and the invention of the internet in the past 50 years, the online form of gambling has become one of the largest economic profits in the United States at 35 Billion Dollars a year. (Cotte, Latour, 26).
In other countries across the world, the laws and specifications of online gambling vary. In some nations online betting games are legalized completely. ?Legalized gambling has rapidly expanded on a worldwide basis and has developed into a major economic role in many communities? (Clarke, Dempsey, 125). The countries that have legalized online gambling completely include: Canada, Antigua and Barbuda, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and France. Some countries have made online gambling completely illegal. For example, in China and India it is illegal to gamble whatsoever. Most European countries have made internet gambling legal for the most part, although there are some rules and regulations that put stipulations on it. For example, the United Kingdom allows foreign operators of the online gambling sites, but requires them to get permission from an approved regulator. In 2001, the Australian government made laws against the marketing and advertisement of online gambling, but it still remains completely legal to take part in the act of gambling online. As stated earlier, the laws towards online gambling alter from being completely illegal to in between to being legal throughout the country (Stechyson, 1-2).
As with every addiction, there are symptoms and/or effects that go along with it. For online gambling, one of them is when the individual spends some or most of their paychecks from their job, and they become somewhat financially instable. No matter how important or how unimportant money is to someone, it is still a key component to their everyday life.
?In comparing traditional gamblers with Internet gamblers, one of the primary differences appeared to be financial stability. Internet gamblers set aside a sum at the start of the month specifically for gambling. When these funds ran out, they stopped gambling. Traditional gamblers admitted to gambling money that they could not afford? (Griffiths, Park, 316).
So, according to Griffiths? and Parke?s, becoming financially unstable from gambling online is much more difficult than going out and gambling at one of the local casinos. This does not mean that gambling over the internet cannot make someone poor, but simply states that it is harder for it to happen.
Another effect that internet gambling can have on a person is that it pushes away family and friends. Gambling, in general, can take away someone?s social life to the point of no return. When an individual become addicted to online gambling, it soon becomes all or most of what they think about. For example, an online gambler who is addicted to Texas Hold ?Em Poker will put their card games ahead of their spouse and children. Unlike gambling at a casino on the person?s free time, online