WHYONLINE GAMBLING SHOULD BE LEGAL
Onlinegambling is a means of using the Internet to place bets on casinogames, sports games, etc. Gambling sites began to appear in the 90`swhen the Swiss Lottery instigated selling lottery tickets to peoplewith specific software and terminals (Levez, 2006). In 1994,legislation permitting online casinos to be instituted was passed bythe Antiguan government. Since then, the number of online gamblingsites has amplified at an astounding rate with each passing year.Jones (2014) notes that in 1994, there were only 30 gamblingwebsites, but five years later, there were an estimated 100 onlinecasinos, nine bingo sites, 39 lotteries, and 54 sports books. By2000, the number had melodramatically increased to 256 onlinecasinos, 30 bingos, 142 sports books and 68 lotteries. The totalrevenues from online casinos in the U.S. are not easy to pinpoint,but have been estimated at 12 billion in 2005, 16.2 billion in 2006,29.3 billion in 2010 and 33.5 billion in 2013 (p. 12).
Thus,it is evident that online gambling has been gaining popularity withthe lapse of time. Considering the rapid technological advancements,online gambling has become a favorite hobby, income generatingactivity or pass-time activity for some. The availability of theinternet has had millions of people hooked on online gaming, an issuethat has evoked mixed reactions among individuals (Chóliz, 2015).The views and perceptions of individuals on the contemporary issue ofonline gaming are two-sided, just like a coin. There are thoseholding onto the notion that online gaming has done more harm thangood, arguing that it is an illegal act, and, therefore, all onlinegamblers should be arrested. On the contrary, there are thoseacknowledging the benefits of online gambling, appealing that it belegalized. Personally, I believe that online gaming is advantageousand should, therefore, be legalized.
Crowne-Mohammedand Andreacchi (2009) argue that legally, there is no United Statesfederal law governing the issue of online gambling. Many residentsare therefore confused about the legality status of online gamblingin the United States. Because of the lack of legislation againstonline gambling, on a federal level, online gambling is perfectlylawful (p. 113). I support the legalization of online gaming becauseof particular reasons. First, the legalization of online gaming wouldsubstantially increase the annual federal revenues collected. In2013, the total market size of online gaming was 35.52 billiondollars and was estimated to hit 56.05 billion dollars by 2018(Spapens, 2013). These figures echo the fact that online gambling isa multi-billion dollar industry, with substantial effects on theactivity of a country`s economy.
Inmost states, tax collectors are entitled to a portion of theresidents` winnings. Any winnings are considered income by the IRSand are therefore taxable (Jones, 2014). Creating an assumption thatonline gaming would be legalized, the government would have todevelop intricate taxation schemes to ensure that all the winningsand proceeds to online gambling winners are appropriately taxed asper the particular state`s tax models (p. 118). In the field, thereare those that evade paying tax on their winnings because onlinegaming is not under any form of federal regulation. After thelegalization of online gaming and taxation of winnings, the "extra"revenue realized from the leakages of those not initially payingtaxes on their winnings can be channeled to other sectors that wouldbring overall development to the society and community (Beem &Mikler, 2011).
Forinstance, Tennessee initiated a state lottery in 2004 to increasefunding for education. Since the inception of the Tennessee Lottery,more than 3.6 billion dollars have been raised for supportingeducational programs and awarded over 7 billion dollars in prizes. InNevada, legal sports book accounted for 120.4 million dollars bet onthe Super Bowl at Casinos in Nevada in 2014. Revenues on the 2014 NFLchampionships in casinos were almost at 112 million dollars (Jones,2014). These figures would be higher, only if online gaming were tobe legalized in the whole of U.S. and a hefty taxation levied on thewinnings. The proceeds will be channeled to progressive portfolios.Therefore, I support the legalization of online gaming because it isa revenue generator.
Onthe contrary, there are those questioning the legality of onlinegambling on the count of the losses, and not gains, brought about byonline gambling. In 2013 alone, online gamblers in the United Stateslost a staggering 120 billion dollars! Online gamblers in Australia,Singapore, Finland and New Zealand suffered greater losses than thosesuffered by United States gamers (Chóliz, 2015). As a consequence oflosing large sums of money, online gamers are usually traumatizedespecially in cases where massive losses are involved. The "leakage"of such huge chunks of money, according to some economists, isdetrimental to the economy of a state since it can lead to a totalcollapse or partial paralysis of the economy.
Second,the concept of online gambling has coerced advancements in onlinegaming and its related turfs. For instance, the moment onlinegambling was conceived, synchronized developments were made both inthe internet, software and hardware realms. All these three scopeswere improved so as to support online gambling (Chóliz, 2015). As aresult, the internet was upgraded too, to a much wider broadband forthe sustenance of online gaming. Moreover, advancements werewitnessed because new software and hardware supporting onlinegambling were innovated and implemented. I believe that if onlinegambling is made legal, there will be rapid technological growths inthe general online gaming field technology. Legalization of onlinegambling will fortify the economy of the country by increasingrevenue and promoting innovation in online gambling software andhardware.
However,Spapens (2013) argues that online gambling has caused more harm thangood. According to Spapens (2013), the development of fast streaminginternet and online gambling equipment has led to gambling addictionand real world disconnection at the same time. A recent study showedthat 5% of online gamblers were addicted to online gambling, with amajority of the addicted being school and college going youths.Because of addiction to online gambling, school going boys andsometimes girls, "disconnect" with reality, losing focus intheir studies (p. 76). The outcome is an addicted gambler withnothing else to do but bet online all day long. When a player losesafter a long streak of success, depression may set in. Therefore, asLevez (2006) reports, online gambling negatively disrupt the life ofaddicted online gambler should the market dynamics move against anindividual`s initial plan of emerging victor. I find opposing thelegality of online gambling by the fact that it causes "addiction"as ridiculous. It is the choice of an addict to become an enthusiast.That 5% is negligible compared to the rest 95% online gamblers thatare not addicted. To me, blaming personal inefficiencies on onlinegambling, thereby asking for its prohibition, is ridiculous
Mythird reason for supporting the legalization of online gambling is aresponse to its legality opponent`s notion that the industry is"susceptible to fraud". According to Jones (2014), gamblingrevenues received from lotteries and sports books are mismanaged bythe relevant state governments. Sometimes, the online gamblingrevenue figures are doctored to hide the scandalous carteltransactions going on behind the scenes. Numerous claims of fraud andcorruption in state lotteries have been reported. Therefore, onlinegambling, to some, is a source of governmental "decay"because politicians use their powers to manipulate and influence thegeneral online gambling (Beem & Mikler, 2011). In addition tothis, there have been numerous cases of online gambling fraud.Recently in Texas, a 32-year-old father of two tried to kill himselfafter he was fleeced off all of his money in online betting. In LasVegas, a South African gambler was deceived into giving all his moneyto a John Doe, who supposedly disappeared into thin air. As Beem andMikler (2011) note, the legality of online gambling is questionablebecause it has so many loopholes for fraud.
Nevertheless,I beg to agree to disagree. I concur with the fact that onlinegambling is susceptible to fraud by it not being under any form offederal regulation. However, I disagree with the notion that onlinegambling should be prohibited because it is not regulated. I supportthe legalization of online gaming because it is only throughlegalization that sanity can be restored to the world of onlinegambling. Legalization of online gambling will lead to theformulation of structured frameworks to be used in the case of afraud case. Some individuals have lost their money to fraudsters, butsince it is online gambling money, people rarely report such cases tothe police because there are no laws upon which the police can act.The structured frameworks formulated after the legalization of onlinegambling will also stipulate how online gaming should be done,including how revenue collection will be achieved from lotteries,sports books, etc. The outcome of legalizing online gambling is thatit will be organized, with everything streamlined in such a mannerthat there are no black spots. I know that legalization, and notprohibition, of online gambling, will lead to its propagation togreater heights as a sport, source of income, pass time activity or ahobby.
Istrongly back the legalization of online gambling because as aneconomic relief, taxation of the winnings from lotteries, sportsbooks, etc. will substantially intensify the annual federal revenuecollected. The surplus revenue collected may be used in other areasof development. Also, the legalization of online gambling will leadto rapid developments in the online gambling hardware and software.Furthermore, the legalization of online gambling will clear all the"blind spots" that provided loopholes to fraudsters andcheats. As an individual, I know that the legalization of onlinegambling will tame not only me (as a future pro-gambler) but each andevery other online gambler. After the legalization of onlinegambling, I will be sure to act within the stipulated scopes of theoutlined gambling law. My online gambling decisions will be pleasantenough not to fraud or conduct myself in any manner contrary to therequirements of the "legal online gambling" statutes.
Beem,B., & Mikler, J. (2011). National regulations for a borderlessindustry: US approach to online gambling. Policyand Society,30(3),161-174. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
Chóliz,M. (2015). The Challenge of Online Gambling: The Effect ofLegalization on the Increase in Online Gambling Addiction. JGambl Stud Journal of Gambling Studies.Retrieved March 9, 2016.
Crowne-Mohammed,E. A., & Andreacchi, R. (2009). The (UN) availability of CommonLaw Remedies for Victims of Online Gambling Fraud. GamingLaw Review and Economics,13(4),304-309. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
Jones,C. (2014). TheLottery and Its Financial Contribution to Public Education inAmerica.
Levez,B. (2006). Onlinegambling.London: Teach Yourself.
Spapens,T. (2013). Illegal Gambling. OxfordHandbooks Online.Retrieved March 9, 2016.