Should The Government Regulate Online Gambling?

Published on October 2nd, 2008 10:26 pm EST

In some parts of the world (especially the United States), there is a war going on. A war between people who want to gamble online from the comfort of their own homes, and those in government who want to stop them. The United States government has attempted to kill off the online gambling industry multiple times, but they still haven't succeeded. After 9/11, the US government shut down Paypal and most credit cards as funding options, saying that online gambling sites were funneling dollars to terrorists. Then, in 2006, the government snuck the UIGEA into the SAFE Port Act. The UIGEA served to close all methods of depositing to online gambing and poker sites for American citizens. In both instances, the online gambling industry was sent reeling - but in both cases, the industry found ways around the new rules and continued to prosper.

should your government prevent you from playing roulette online?Those who are against online gambling point out that it is "simply too easy to lose your home from the comfort of your own home." They also will point out that it is too easy for a minor to gamble online, and that online gaming sites prey on the "weak".

The real reason behind the prohibition of online gambling in the United States is that the government is angry that they are missing out on so many tax dollars. If they can't get their hands on those dollars, they figure, they'll just shut down online gambling completely to American residents. I mean, what else could the reason be? There are brick and mortar casinos on practically every corner in the United States now. Why are politicians worried about me losing my house online, when I could just as easily sell my house, withdraw all my cash and go blow it at the casino in one night? No one will stop me - rather, they will ply me with free drinks all night and even comp me in order to get me to stay.

The big difference between brick and mortar casinos and online casinos? Brick and mortar casinos have powerful lobbyists working for them in Washington, where online casinos do not. That's the difference.

Those who are in favor of online gambling make the following arguments:

They will tell you that they earned this money and paid taxes on it, so who is the government to tell them how they should spend this money?

What difference is there between gambling online and gambling in a "live" casino setting, other than free drinks?

Other countries in the world (including the United Kingdom) regulate online gaming and generate tax dollars from it. Why not the United States as well? They will point out that prohibition never works, and people will always find a way around it.

They aren't hurting anybody, so what business is it of the government?

The idea that online casinos are funneling funds to terrorists has never been proven. They will point out that many casinos are publicly traded, multi-million (and sometimes billion) dollar companies that have never been proven to have terrorist ties. So why is the government inventing such stories?

How do you feel about certain governments trying to restrict your rights as a law-abiding customer of an online casino or poker room? Do you feel that they have a point, or do you think that they should mind their own business? Should the US government seriously consider regulation, or do you think that prohibition of online gambling is a good idea?