Although the United States has taken a hard line on Internet gambling, banning it completely in October 2006, most European governments have taken the totally opposite approach and continue to liberalize legislation on online gambling; making it a lucrative market for online gambling operators.
Although Britain has a fifth of the population of the United States, it spends as much as Americans on gambling, according to figures released by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC). And much of that UK spending is now done online. So what attracts gamblers online and is there any danger involved?
The basis for the US ban on online gambling comes from a report issued by the National Commission to Study the Impact of Gambling in 1999. The main finding of that study highlighted the fact that ‘the presence of a gaming facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of the problem and pathological gamblers. ‘ Obviously, with the rise of online gambling, that “gaming facility” is located within the home. So, the argument goes, that leads to more gambling opportunities and therefore the possibility of more people becoming compulsive gamblers. They are obsessed with the game and winning does not minimize that compulsion; the more they win, the more they play. Worse still, the more they lose, the more they play to try to recoup their losses to the point where their habit becomes unaffordable and they sink judi online.
But despite dire warnings from the US, the vast majority of people participating online can control their gambling and play comfortably within their means. For most, online gambling is a form of entertainment from which they get a buzz and sometimes a profit. The fact that the games can be played in the comfort of home obviously adds to the attraction. Sophisticated software can now replicate the casino experience; Full-color graphics and compelling sound put the player at the heart of the action, even if they are actually in front of their computer screen. And due to the rapid adoption of online gambling, revenue is increasing, allowing a percentage to be returned to players as larger jackpots and prizes, which in turn attracts more players.
In addition to the comfort and convenience factor, another problem that has led to a massive acceptance of online gambling is the introduction of a smoking ban in all public places. Rather than heading to their local bingo hall or casino and having to endure the rain and cold while smoking, many UK gamblers have chosen to stay home and play online. That is a major factor driving an increasing number of women to sign up for online bingo and casino games. Online gambling may be illegal in the US, but the evidence from Europe is that it is here to stay and will continue to prosper for the foreseeable future.