Online Gambling: A Growing Addiction

I got myself into this. The sharing of experiences with friends, family, like I’ve never seen before. “The miracles I’ve experienced. “It’s American, like apple pie. except Nevada.

“Sports betting is the rock of Gibraltar,” Looney said. He served a year in prison and now works for a compulsive gambling helpline. By some estimates, $7 billion is wagered on the Super Bowl alone in casinos, online and with bookies.

Three and a half years ago, Erickson accrued $400,000 in gambling debts. Mark Erickson always craved a piece of the action — so the accountant from Phoenix started betting on sports over the Internet.

But soon, it spiraled out of control.

If you or your loved ones has a gambling problem, help can be found at the National Council on Problem Gambling.

“I think it’s a devastating illness, it’s an illness that if it’s not treated, it will end up that the person’s whole lifestyle will be affected,” said Ed Looney, executive director of Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.

“Life is great,” Erickson said. I got to get myself out of it.

‘A Devastating Illness’

Erickson is a compulsive gambler, a condition just as dangerous and debilitating as drug or alcohol addiction. And when they caught on, he left his family and fled.

“I’ve heard other people compare it to a cocaine addiction, the high you get from that, and that’s the euphoria I felt,” he said. The lining up the money, the handicapping of the game, the betting of the game, the watching of the game. The college bowl games this weekend lead to the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. These are things that I avoided my whole life, not choosing to be a part of, but today I cherish them.”

After 23 days on the run, Erickson turned himself in. As gambling on the Internet becomes more popular and more sites crop up, those numbers are expected to increase.. Then, it’s March Madness, where many participate in an office betting pool.

The situation became so dire, that Erickson contemplated killing himself. People love to bet on their football games.”

“I became this person I didn’t know,” he said. He credits a 12-step program to helping him overcome his problem, and he has not gambled in almost four years.

It is now high season for sports betting. People love to bet on it. “But I thought this must be what I have to do. He considered going to Mexico and if he couldn’t kill himself there, he’d pay someone else to do it, he said.

Nevertheless, the industry rakes in mind-boggling amounts of cash. Win or lose, it didn’t matter to me, it just set me up to bet again.”

The problem is affecting younger people as well. Drawn in by the popularity of poker, half of all men in college are gambling on an monthly basis — even though betting on sports is illegal everywhere in the U.S. There are an estimated 6 million people who deal with the problem in the United States. Desperate, he began stealing from his clients. That will always be there. “It becomes an all-consuming activity

CNN – Gambling online? You bet!

Like the Communications Act passed in the 1930s, technology has now leapfrogged the law. Casino games are available on a site or via downloadable software. citizens, it will be increasingly tempting for them to turn to locations abroad. “The telephone is being used to facilitate these wagers and I believe the government has a solid case,” explains Tony Cabot, a Las Vegas-based gaming lawyer and author of a book on Internet gaming. Together, these sites have about 4,300 registered customers in 96 countries around the world.

More than a year later, however, no cases have come to trial, and nine defendants have accepted plea bargains for state misdemeanor charges with no jail time. As Timothy L. One Australian state, Queensland, is already awarding licenses for online gambling, and others may follow soon. “Since there are no controls at present regarding Internet wagering, I would urge investors to shun these firms at present,” he says. Why should it be legal to bet online on a horse race in another state, but not legal to bet on a basketball game in one’s own state? If Native American tribes can establish new, legal, physical places where adults can gamble, why shouldn’t someone be able to do the same in cyberspace?

Internet Gambling Worldwide, Past and Future

Nonetheless, some experts think the case could be made to stick. But according to Inland CEO Don Speer, elusive profits need not be one of them. In January, MegaSports began taking Internet bets from Australians; it expects soon to allow global gambling on sporting events. Almost all online gambling sites work the same. “Federal legislation will make it difficult but not impossible for Internet gamblers in the U.S. And for sports bettors – who make up a majority of online gamblers, according to industry insiders – the ease of using cyberbookies can’t be beat. His equal partner is Australian tycoon Kerry Packer of the Crown Casino in Victoria. 474, introduced into the Senate by Arizona’s John Kyl in 1997 as the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. has had little cooperation from any other nation. The vast majority of customers will satisfy their demand for commercial gambling through less onerous and risky alternatives, such as lotteries, bingo, pari-mutuels and casinos.”

The prosecutors’ focus on sports bets appears to stem from legal precedent in the law they relied on. Nor would it prohibit online fantasy sports leagues, online lotteries in states where they are legal, or online betting on any live horse race where it would otherwise be lawful to wager. That figure exaggerates the size of the Internet gambling sector, since some companies operate more than one online betting parlor. He claims Inland’s Internet gambling business went slightly into the black in March, on annualized revenues of about $1 million. Inland, for example, operates two Web sites in addition to the one bearing Kenny Rogers’ likeness: Casinoaustralia.com and Goodluckclub.com. The Justice Department doesn’t think that online casinos (including those that offer gambling on sports events) can legally conduct business in the United States, even if they are based in places where gambling is legal. If, on the other hand, an activity is in the physical world – betting on horses, or casino betting with Indian tribes – it becomes subject to federal criminal sanction when it occurs in cyberspace. to gain access to offshore sites,” says Sebastian Sinclair of Christiansen/Cummings. Anyone over the age of 18 can set up an account with Centrebet and place money on a variety of worldwide sporting events, including U.S. Even the firms that have enjoyed some stock-price popularity – such as Youbet.com – have shaky fundamentals. Legislators have considered enlisting Internet service providers to patrol for undesirable sites, although Internet gambling insiders consider that proposal dead on arrival. Passed during the term of crime-fighter Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the law was intended to outlaw betting over telephone lines.

Today, Americans spend some $600 billion a year on legal gambling, making it by far the favored national pastime. Says Sinclair of Christiansen/Cummings: “You are going to feel more comfortable wagering with a Hilton than you will with Joe’s Casino.”

The office of U.S. In the ’70s, Atlantic City legalized casino gambling; in the ensuing decades, state lotteries, Indian casinos, gaming ships, offtrack betting parlors and card clubs have sprouted across the landscape. attorney’s case involved the casinos’ sportsbooks. “Ultimately, Internet gambling operators are selling a product. Tony Cabot, an attorney specializing in gaming issues, says flatly, “When you see Kerry Packer get together with Microsoft, you have to believe there is a future for this type of wagering.”

It’s not because they operate in any fundamentally different way. “Think about what would happen to Wal-Mart (WMT), General Motors or Microsoft if these companies had to continue to dodge federal roadblocks to access their customers,” says Sebastian Sinclair, senior associate at Christiansen/Cummings Associates, a management consulting firm. Says Opel, “Bringing in the big names and established companies only adds credibility and visibility to what we’re already doing.”

Is it legal?

A few hurdles have to be cleared before such ventures can take off – beginning with the federal government. Failure to account for that specificity in legislation could stifle the Internet’s growth or chill its use as a communications tool.

Similarly, the Las Vegas-based public company American Wagering, owner of Leroy’s Horse and Sports Place in Nevada, also operates a sports gambling site located in Canberra called MegaSports (www.megasports.com.au). Attorney White has proceeded slowly and quietly. Their case is based on the 1961 Wire Act. The minimum amount to begin an account varies.

The original version of Kyl’s bill failed most of these tests. But the travails associated with fending off lawsuits have essentially put the company out of business.

One major barrier to profitability is the law. That makes for an Internet gambling environment too porous for U.S law enforcement to plug. “I wager on football games and usually bet in the neighborhood of $1,000 every weekend. The American Gaming Association, a trade group of gaming firms, maintains this view regarding online wagering: “The industry has been state-regulated and we think it should remain that way. The defendants, many of whom live abroad, were threatened with up to five years in prison and $250,000 fines. One of Microsoft (MSFT)’s less-publicized adventures is Ninemsn, an Australia-based Internet service to which Bill Gates has pledged tens of millions of dollars. Justice believes that any legislation addressing criminal misuse of computers or computer systems (including the Internet) should have three vital characteristics. They almost always include slots, blackjack and video poker, but many sites carry more exotic games, from baccarat to pai gow. Aruba, for one, is refusing to extradite any indicted individuals to the U.S., and thus far the U.S.

But over the last several months, at least some traditional casinos have pursued the time-honored strategy of joining an Internet gambling trend that they can’t beat. attorney for the Southern District of New York, indicted 14 managers of six Internet companies for offering gambling on their sites. About 2,000 years later, Bugsy Siegel took the concept a step further and built the Flamingo Hotel in the desert town of Las Vegas. In November 1998, for example, a division of Hilton Hotels acquired the company that runs Centrebet, a Web and telephone sports-wagering system based in Australia (www.centrebet.com.au). According to an analysis by Sue Schieder of Rolling Good Times, the online gambling magazine, the new legislation would not punish the casual bettor. If an activity is prohibited in the physical world but not on the Internet, the Internet becomes a safe haven for that criminal activity.

All the sites indicted by the U.S. I’ve not had problems being paid.”

So how is it that these companies appear to operate legally, but a dozen Caribbean cowboys found themselves under felony indictment?

That partnership leads many observers to believe that an online casino – using Microsoft platforms, of course – is in the works. Estimates range from $650 million to $1 billion a year, worldwide – a tiny fraction of the amount spent on more traditional formats.

The amount spent on Internet gambling is harder to calculate. (However, an HBO sports program attempted to locate one of these ventures in Aruba, and ultimately found that the genuine server was in a residential neighborhood in Bethlehem, Pa.) And the Caribbean nations would like to keep their haven status.

First, legislation should treat physical activity and cyberactivity in the same way.

Gambling is as at least as old as Christianity (that is, if Ben Hur can be trusted). That may suggest that, as some legal observers have argued, the 1961 federal Wire Act is too old and too loosely written to prohibit online gambling. Legislation tied to a particular technology may quickly become obsolete and require further amendment. In a highly publicized March 1998 “raid,” Mary Jo White, the U.S.

Although it uses a CryptoLogic template similar to several other online casinos, Kennyrogerscasino.com may be unique in letting bettors wager as little as a penny at a time. At one point, Interactive Gaming looked like it could be an industry leader.

But a hard-core base will continue to turn to Internet betting for its clear advantages. Would-be wagerers open an account with a credit card, although some sites also accept cash and cashier’s checks. “I use the service because it’s convenient and I have access to it when I want,” says one online gambler. “We get daily reports, and you’ll see these people who spend a couple of hours gambling, and the total amount they bet is like $1.81,” says Thomas Holmes, Inland’s head of technology.

But even if Congress comes up with the best-crafted legislation in history, there are significant factors beyond its control. Bets generally range from $1 to as much as $300. The Internet is presently unregulated and we support a federal law regulating Internet gambling.”

But the growing acceptance of online betting and the Internet’s inherent ability to shatter jurisdictions bring the inconsistencies of American gaming law to a boil. college and professional sports. (The company did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.)

Group calls for regulation of Net gambling

For years, another barrier to the growth of Internet gambling has been strong opposition from those most threatened by gambling sites: legal American casinos. But as more and more traditional firms become involved, the consumer will look for the brand name. Packer is a man with a voracious gambling appetite.

Finally, the DoJ believes that any federal law must recognize that the Internet is different from other communications media: It’s a multifaceted communications medium that allows for both point-to-point transmission between two parties (like the telephone), as well as the widespread dissemination of information to a vast audience (like a newspaper).

Running an online casino carries all the usual challenges of Internet businesses, from low click-through rates to servers that fail. Does the seeming invincibility of online gambling make it an enticing business? Jason Ader of Bear Stearns, urges caution. attorney’s office theoretically operate out of the Caribbean. O’Brien observes in Bad Bet, his comprehensive account of America’s gambling industry, “Judging by dollars spent, gambling is now more popular in America than baseball, the movies and Disneyland combined.”

Second, legislation should be technology-neutral.

Take Interactive Gaming and Communications, another publicly traded company, located in Blue Bell, Pa. (The company’s Indian casino and Web-development divisions make more.) “This is the really exciting point, because I know where it goes from here,” Speer said in an interview. FBI agents placed bets on games – uniformly National Football League matches, although many other options are available – and followed up, whether they won or lost. A Ninemsn spokesperson says that the site does not now offer online gambling and would not comment on future plans. White’s hesitancy suggests that the law may not be as solid as she thought when she indicted. Today, a roster on one “gambling portal” site lists well over 200. Even the precise number of online casinos is hard to calculate.

Prosecutors focus on sports betting

Intriguingly, though, all the bets that make up the U.S. … In 1997, published reports put the total number of operating online casinos at 15. Blackjack players can very easily count cards, or even consult odds charts; the Kennyrogerscasino.com site actually has a printable chart showing the best strategy for every possible hand of blackjack. In most cases, this means operating out of Australia. . For decades, Vegas was about the only legal option for gamblers. The Wire Act obviously has no mention of wagering over the Internet. The Standard obtained a Department of Justice analysis of the bill S. For one thing, gambling from one’s home allows for a variety of techniques that would get one tossed out of a regular casino. But they say the more bettors, the better. “And it is possible that records could be subpoenaed of various banks where these companies maintain accounts.”

You might think that the prospect of competing against the likes of Microsoft would terrify a $20 million company like Inland.

If such gamblers are not satisfied by options available to U.S.

Is Microsoft betting too?

The potential action is too compelling for even the largest tech tycoons to resist. But following a 1997 indictment, the state of Missouri settled a suit against the company and its president, Michael Simone, for about $35,000. Kyl introduced a revised version earlier this year, removing some of the more onerous and hard-to-enforce provisions. In 1998, the Senate passed, by a large margin, an amendment prohibiting Internet gambling, but that bill died before becoming law. Her higher-ups in the Justice Department appear to agree

Internet Gambling Facts and Problems

Losing big money results in heavy financial losses, which can in turn lead to frustration.

Problems

The problems with Internet gambling mainly include the risk of addiction and that of the emergence and spread of illegal practices in society.

Internet gambling, as most of us know, is any form of gambling that makes use of the Internet. For more on this, you must read about the impact of Internet gambling. People who have never gained any exposure to land-based casinos or local bookies find online gambling enjoyable. One of the most important advantages of Internet gambling is that it does not require you to leave your home. Users can sign up to their websites and bet money through electronic transactions. It leads to a waste of resources (time and money). A majority of children and youngsters are attracted to online gambling.

? In most members of the European Union and the nations that surround the Caribbean Sea, different forms of Internet gambling are legalized.

? The Internet gambling industry is one of the most profitable ones today. The lack of regulation makes online gambling a prey to network hackers. As no government authority regulates online gambling, it can lead to the spread of several illegal practices. Hackers gain easy access to confidential information of the users.

? In 2004, Google and Yahoo! declared the removal of online gambling advertisements from their websites.

For professional gamblers, it is their major source of income.

Casual social gamblers engage in gambling activities for the purpose of entertainment.

Serious social gamblers involve in gambling with great sincerity and may end up spending huge amounts on it.

? Some gamblers engage in gambling activities for escaping from the stress in their life. A few occurrences of winning good amounts of money is enough to lure him into risking more. But one cannot get lucky every time. It can lead to addiction among youngsters. Once lured by the money that can be made through such activities, it’s not unnatural for a user to get addicted to this form of gambling. Online casinos, online poker, online sports betting, among others, are some of the common forms of Internet gambling. In an attempt to win more and more money, one continues staking it, even thoughtlessly at times. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States has proclaimed that the Federal Wire Act applies only to sports betting.. However, if one is to think about the waste of productive time that online gambling results in, and the other problems that it can lead to, it becomes clear why one should stay away from online gambling or at least restrict the time spent on it.

Facts

? Internet gambling lacks a centralized regulation. In this case, it can lead them to compulsive gambling wherein a person feels compelled to engage in gambling activities for which he/she sacrifices his family and career.

? It is said that money-laundering activities are common in case of online gambling. Lacking regulation, these sites are vulnerable to attacks by network hackers. Your favorite game is just a few clicks away.

? Gambling activities that involve online money transactions are a greater risk. However, there is no evidence to prove this, as casinos and race tracks are a more common and prominent reason behind the rise in money laundering.

? It is commonly believed that there are higher chances of people getting addicted to Internet gambling than to other forms of it. With one’s money involved, there is also a risk of one’s financial or account information being hacked.

? The Interstate Wire Act of 1961 is a federal law of the United States that prohibits the operation of certain kinds of betting practices in the country. One instance of winning money is sufficient to tempt a user to bet more. There are various Internet gambling companies that offer users the option to play games and gamble online. One of the major Internet gambling problems is its detrimental effect on society. And it results in a splurge of money that can rather be utilized for better reasons.

? Gamblers seen around the world can be classified under a few basic categories.

? An excessive exposure to Internet gambling activities can lead to addiction