Is Online Gambling Socially Damaging?

July 13, 2012

In the last couple of weeks we have bought plenty of positive news, especially regarding the new attitude of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the fact it has begun granting online gambling licenses to companies in the USA. So far both Bally Technologies and Reno have been given a license, with others in process. Then just a couple of day’s back we bought you the news that the Family Foundation was forming up in opposition of the newly buoyant online gambling market in the USA. The hypotheses which this opposition is based on seems to be that online gambling is socially damaging, and attempts to suck resources from family units. So we thought we would air the question for discussion.

OK, so the Family Foundation state that online gambling aims to deplete the resources of the family unit. However, so do many other markets from fast food to the latest tech gadgets. Sure, you could argue the fact that gambling has proven to be addictive to some people, but so is fast food for some! Let’s not forget that we are not talking about a completely new market here, many of the players who would begin to use these new USA based online casino sites are already playing with offshore providers.

Now, whilst we can agree that gambling in its entirety, not just online gambling can be a problem for a percentage of the population, we need to consider the fact that online gambling and online casino sites are far easier to access than real world casinos, they in effect, bring the casino to your home. So we might conceptualize a situation where online gambling can become a larger problem to a wider range of people. However, even if we concede this point, we can still make a good argument for legitimizing online gambling in the USA. Currently, many online casino sites are access overseas, with little regulation or monitoring. By bringing online gambling into the home market, a vehicle is then in place to monitor and control the effect it has on the populous.

I think if we had to sum things up in one sentence, we would say that yes, online gambling has the possibility to be socially damaging. However, the stable door is already open and the horse has bolted, so it is far better to build new fences so that the next herd can be controlled better.

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