The internet has vastly changed the way business has been operating, especially in the gambling and casino industry. Internet gambling was the fastest growing online category and it is changing the way gamblers engage with this activity. In this paper, I will discuss how people view internet gambling, the laws and concerns, and also the profiles of those who gamble on the internet and those who don't in the United States.
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The internet has become a huge part of our everyday lives and many people are relying on it to do a lot of different tasks. In fact, everywhere you go, you can see people holding their gadgets and using the internet to search for stuff or even to play games. The internet plays an important role in many forms of entertainment, especially in the online casino gambling field. Since the first introduction of the World Wide Web in 1995, internet gambling operated by offshore companies has grown rapidly. Many individuals now have access to online casinos around the world.
Is Internet Gambling Good or Bad?
One of the biggest criticisms of legalised online gambling is that it has a negative effect on the economy. If people do not travel to casinos, they also do not buy gas, or eat food, or stay in hotels, or spend money on other community activities (World Online Gambling, 2003). Also, if individuals become addicted and spent a huge amount on gambling, that would mean they had no money left to spend on consumer goods. However, the level of support for the casino industry remains high. A survey revealed that 83% of Americans view casino gaming as an acceptable form of entertainment, 90% of Americans believe gambling is a question of personal freedom, and nearly 75 % of respondents think casinos "can be an important part of a community's entertainment and tourism options" (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005).
Internet Gaming Phenomenon
Why do people gamble? Most people gamble for one amazing reason only, which is to win money. But winning money while staying home? Say no more. Internet gaming is great for people who are busy and do not live near a casino, but they want to play the slots, or competing in blackjack. With one simple click, they can easily enter casinos without any traveling. Internet gaming was illegal in the US until 2011. Because of this, many internet casinos are located overseas, however, almost half of the online gamblers are placed by people in the US. That is because most of these casinos are actually operated from the US with the servers located somewhere else. The reason these small countries allow online gambling is that it can help boost their economy. Companies pay up to $100,000 to secure a gaming license, as well as paying ongoing taxes (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005).
With the conception and development of internet gambling, a Georgia State University law article concluded that four questions must be addressed by policy makers (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005). First, if Internet gambling is desirable, how should it be developed? If not, how should it be controlled? Second, which level of government is best suited to regulate or control Internet gambling? Third, in cyberspace how can governments generate revenue from gambling activities? And finally, what kinds of social costs are involved in Internet gambling (Feldman, 2004). There will be so many questions that the policy makers have to be concerned about such as what kind of game should be legalized, what would the tax rate, licensing fee be and many other more. They will also need to create a safe playing environment and guarantee the integrity of the games for the players.
The Internet Gamblers
According to the American Psychological Association, people who gamble on the internet may become more addicted and have more serious gambling problem than those who play at the casinos. Internet gamblers can play anywhere they want without anyone being aware that they are actually gambling. It is very convenient, but it also means people can win or lose an amount of money very quickly. One surprising fact that goes against the gambling stereotypes is that female internet gamblers outnumbered male internet gamblers. A less surprising fact is that many gamblers tend to be young because they tend to take more risks and use technology more. Internet gamblers are very technologically aware, which will increasingly open up opportunities for gambling services to be delivered on alternative platforms (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005).
The study of profiles
In order to discover the views of current land based casino gamblers toward Internet gambling, a study was designed to collect information such as education level, income, age, access to the internet, and many more. In the study, two overall research questions were developed. What differences in demographic and behavioral characteristics exist between land based casino patrons who have Internet- gambled, and those who have not? And which behavioral responses and demographic characteristics are most effective in predicting a profile for those willing to Internet gamble in the future versus those who would not? (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005). The study has found that 52% of those who gamble online had a bachelor degree or higher, while there are only 23% of those who would not gamble on the internet had a bachelor degree of higher. On the other hand, the study has also found that households with income between $50,000 and $99,999 were the largest groups to gamble online (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005). This explains why many successful players came from higher education backgrounds because they have the ability to solve skill games such as blackjack and poker. For example, mathematicians and scientists have been known to gamble frequently. Why? Because they know how mathematical formulas work and how to invent strategies in order to win the game. When asked whether people believe if they would get paid if they win gambling online, many people who are not internet gamblers said no because they don't know how they would get paid or they don't trust it. The main reason is because only 59% of those who have never gambled online had made purchases on the internet and willing to bank online. Compared to 95% of those who had Internet-gambled had made purchases on the Internet, that number is very low. This may relate to feeling confident in banking online. If people understand how funds can be transferred electronically, they may be more willing to believe they would get paid for online winnings (Woodruff & Gregory, 2005). Also, the study has shown that those who have gambled online before were likely to do it again. While those who have never done would not consider doing it in the future.
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In conclusion, based on all the information, internet gamblers are most likely to be well educated, younger, because they are more likely to try new things, higher income, and willing to make purchases through the internet. Like many other industries, the gambling and casinos industry is being transformed by the internet. It allows many individuals to have access to online casinos around the world. Internet gambling is still a subject that everyone has different opinions on and it is not going to change anytime soon. Some people might think it is bad and a waste of time, while many others think it is an acceptable form of entertainment and very convenient.
Woodruff, C., & Gregory, S. R. (2005). Profile of Internet Gamblers: Betting on the Future. UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, 9(1). Retrieved from https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/grrj/vol9/iss1/1
World Online Gambling Laws on Internet Gambling. (n.d.). Should it be regulated? Retrieved July 21, 2003, from http://www.worldonlinegambling.com/laws/ onlinegamingregulations.htm
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