Internet Gambling is Safe
Internet gambling has grown to be a multi-billion dollar venture with a bulk of Americans confessing to having engaged and enjoyed gambling at least once. According to Minton, the number of Americans who participate in online gambling is ever escalating. Generally, the United States permits gambling for the sake of obtaining money but prohibits the placing of bets on some forms of sports and animal races. Washington however, has implemented state laws that forbid any form of internet gambling for its citizens.
With the ever increasing popularity status of online gambling, politicians as well as other independent bodies have developed the desire to step in and regulate what they feel is of growing concern. These parties have devoted their time to instilling fear on the public by constantly painting online gambling in bad light. They have run smear campaigns that internet gambling is a high risqué endeavor prone to infestation by fraudsters and other criminal elements. In fact, congress has in the past taken initiatives in an attempt to regulate online gambling but they have failed. However, in light of some highly publicized scandals connected to gambling sites, politicians have revitalized their efforts in their anti-online gambling onslaught. Some of the scandals included the 2008 Absolutepoker.com controversy which revealed how the site employees connived to swindle clients off huge amounts of money. In a 2007 incident, Minton states that Neteller, an online payment service provider, was engaged in legal battles with both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice. In addition, some of its chief personnel were arrested causing their payment activities to hit a snag resulting in a disgruntled clientele majority of who were internet gamblers. Later on, the management apologized for the mishap and settled what they owed.
The above instances are among several other unfortunate ones involving internet gambling. However, they by no means warrant the magnitude of negative air play they received. Internet gambling as compared to any other form of gambling faces equal measures of risks contrary to the perception that is being forced down the public’s throat of it being highly susceptible to criminal infiltration. The comparison of the Absolutepoker.com incident to the “Wild West” is sheer exaggeration. It is fallacious to assert that the deviousness of a small proportion of people should be generalized to the whole population of internet gamblers. Congressmen have however taken this stance and have widely used it as a focal point for their anti-internet gambling campaigns. Internet gambling is aid to be safer than real-one gambling not only because of the technical skills needed to maneuver, but also because it is easier detect cheating and even harder to get away with it (Minton n.pag).
Wallace detects duplicity in the states’ efforts to control internet gambling in pretext that it is for the protection of the citizens when in actual terms, they operate casinos and other betting forums. In fact, Wallace points out the fact that it is only when the states fail to get any monetary benefits from internet gambling that they feel they should regulate it. He criticizes the move by the state of Minnesota to ban sites that offer internet gambling and terms it as not only a breach of privacy, but an infringement of individual freedoms and contrary to the American culture. Further, Wallace brings to light the fact that in Minnesota, poker can only be played in horse tracks that are owned by the state. It is obvious that the funds obtained from offering poker are channels into the state reserves thus the obvious need to protect it.
Minton highlights yet another state sanction in an attempt to regulate online gambling. She speaks broadly on the California’s proposed regulatory bill. The bill dubbed SB 1485 is intended to somehow legalize online gambling for its citizens. In actual terms, this bill would only permit internet gambling on three sites and criminalizes any other such activities in other sites. Minton seems to echo Wallace’s sentiments that such a prohibition would only act to offend human rights activists in addition to breaking privacy codes. According to Minton, in addition to any on-line game in which the operator pockets a portion of the money won, there are eleven other officially named illegal games. If passed into law, Californians will not be able to take part in internet gambling on any sites other than the ones that have been sanctioned by the state. This would make any gambling activity outside of the prescribed realm will be a punishable offence by the law.
Minton admits that online gambling when compared to other American or European industries is less regulated. She is however quick to point out that just by virtue of them receiving less regulation it does not mean that they are lawless. On the contrary, she states that this industry is both well maintained and highly scrutinized. Due to its unique nature, there isn’t an official regulator appointed by the government to man online gambling. This however doesn’t interpret to the government playing no role in the regulation. This business has two types of regulators; government ones such as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and private ones. Rating organizations which are independently run play a critical role in regulation. They are involved in the certification of those sites that adhere to the regulations with regards to security and legality. Another prerequisite is that the online casinos take part in settling disputes. Clients make use of such information to assess whether their interests are safe guarded while playing online.
The largest non-governmental internet gaming regulation body is known as eCogra. It grants certificates to over 100 sites for conducting their activities in accordance with the rules. In a collaborative study by the European Gaming and Betting Association and the largest non-governmental regulator, it was discovered upon comparison between independent regulators and government owned agencies that the non-governmental ones performed as well as governmental ones. It was also discovered that 24% of the time, non-governmental ones do a better job.
In conclusion, despite all the negative falsehoods that are being spread about online gambling, it remains to e a safe and equally regulated endeavor. Contrary to the biased perception that online gambling attracts a host of criminal minded hooligans, internet gambling is in fact safer than other forms of gambling.