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Wednesday, 27 June 2012 08:01

The Argument For the Legalisation of Online Casinos

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Some very interesting things are happening in the US right now.

Since the Obama administration released an opinion that removed the role of the federal government in the legalisation of online casinos, states have been scrambling to begin the lengthy process of legalising online gambling, helped along in a healthy degree by casino lobbyists.

As was only to be expected, there is a significant degree of opposition to the legalisation of online gambling, and the most common complaint is the claim of social ills; more specifically, that companies will prey on addicts, who will in turn steal to fund their problems, end up on the street, and cause problems for everyone. The states, they argue, should not encourage companies to set up to take advantage of vulnerable citizens grappling with addiction and should definitely not take revenue into consideration when looking at the legalisation of online gambling.

But there are a few problems with this argument. Problem gambling is classified as an impulse control disorder and the percentage of addicts in North America was 2.3% in 2008. The vast majority of people who gamble will do so responsibly and there is no reason to believe that the percentage of problem gamblers will increase should legalisation become a reality.

Secondly, just because online gambling is currently illegal in the US does not mean that it doesn't occur. In fact, because it is illegal, people turn to underground gambling rings, often run by organised crime syndicates, which is arguably more dangerous than gambling in a regulated industry because it means they have no protection.

Also, America is a capitalist country and it is unreasonable to expect that companies won't try to turn a profit. Revenue from legal gambling will give states a much-needed boost and enable them to invest in infrastructure. Gambling creates investment; already several companies have proved they are willing to pay a lot of cash to set up within the state.

Finally – and this is a much more inflammatory argument – America holds personal freedom dear. Can you really make the argument that a person should have the right to choose whether they own a gun, but not if they gamble online?