Legalization of Online Gambling

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Date Submitted: 09/18/2012 10:20 PM

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Should the US Government Legalize and Regulate Online Gambling?

“Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” This is the slogan for the self-proclaimed Gambling Capital of the World. Gambling in the state of Nevada was completely legalized in 1931 and was the only legal option until the 1970s when Atlantic City, New Jersey decided to allow casinos (Hammer 105-106). Although gambling has expanded beyond Las Vegas with 48 of the states (Hawaii and Utah are exceptions) allowing some kind of gambling, none has been more revolutionary than online gambling (NPGAW). Patrons can now sit at home or in a local coffee shop, rather than making extended drives and travel plans. Gambling online is not only more convenient but the age required is only eighteen years of age and falsifying an identity is much easier online than it is in face-to-face interactions. With the increased accessibility of the Internet in the mid-1990s gambling online has grown into an industry that generates in revenue an estimated $35.8 billion worldwide (Kirchoff 3). This in the face of legislation such as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which is designed to cut off the funding of gambling activities by outlawing credit card charges, electronic fund transfers (EFTs) and receipt of checks for the purpose of gambling activities (Yeh 1). The UIGEA was passed in 2006, but as recently as 2008 players from the United States attributed for $5.9 billion of the $21.0 billion worldwide revenue (Spectrum 16). With so much money exchanging hands over the click of the mouse, should the US Government legalize and regulate online gambling?

Growth in the industry has also meant the growth of concern for pathological/compulsive and problem gamblers. Pathological gamblers have been known to be linked to other psychiatric factors such as ease of access, anonymity and 24-hour availability contribute too much higher rates of problem gambling with internet gamblers than non-internet gamblers...