Whether to legalize online gambling or not has certainly been in the news in recent months. While some countries are banning or restricting online gambling, others are looking for a way to regulate and legalize the much-loved pastime.
Concerns in the United States have centered around making sure that issues such as gambling addiction will not get worse as a result of legalizing online gambling, as well as issues such as underage gambling via the Internet.
In the European Union, the main reason that there have been objections to liberalizing the online gambling market throughout the EU has been because member states have been concerned about the competition against their state-owned online gambling monopolies. They have been clear that there are concerns that if online gambling is run along the same guidelines as the free market that operates throughout the EU, then individual states will lose some much-needed income that is generated via their online gambling monopolies.
But is the difference so great? In the US, there are already some forms of online gambling, such as horseracing and lotteries, and even where these games are legal, there is often a move towards blocking online gambling, such as in the state of Kentucky. It seems fairly clear that the state government is not particularly concerned about underage gambling, and gambling addiction if they allow bets on horse races to take place in their state.
There are definitely those who are opposed to online gambling because they fear it will lead to social problems for some, however, it is difficult to be sure nowadays if the real objection that is being made is because the objectors do not want their current forms of gambling to have competition, or whether they are seriously concerned for the welfare of others.
There seems to be no doubt that many states who had first objected to regulating and legalizing online gambling realized that their residents were gambling online anyway, and they were simply missing out on the taxes that they could have been collecting. That, added to the recent worldwide financial crisis has definitely made many lawmakers take notice of the difference it can make to the state or country’s coffers if they would legalize online gambling. Along with that also comes the realization that if their residents are playing anyway, they can be protected by regulating the industry, and that their tax money can stay inside the state and can be put to good use.