Online Gambling & Casino Gambling

By: Gianni Truvianni

Recently the United States government has passed a law making it illegal for credit card companies or other such institutions in the United States to make payments over the internet to businesses that are involved in online gambling. I for my part would like to say that I am not a gambler of any kind as the times that I have been to a casino or gambled at one are so few as to be counted on one hand so it is not with a personal interest that I am against such a law nor is it that I profit in any way, shape or form from online gambling or any other kind. I merely speak out against a law that I consider to be unfair, illogical and hypocritical as it allows the same activity when practiced in Casinos in cities like Las Vegas or Atlantic City but not on the internet. To my way of thinking this is the equivalent of passing a law that makes it illegal to consume liquor in bars but not in restaurants; where the activity is left unaltered but for some reason the law strikes out against.

The issue to those who made the law regarding online gambling in the United States was so called "morality" which of course is arbitrary and if one looks at things from a purely logical point of view should never be used as a basis for law. It being this sort of thinking which in the US lead to the failed Volstead Act. This act being the one that brought about prohibition in the United States during the 20s which contrary to popular misconception made it unlawful not to produce or consume alcohol but to sell or buy it. Meaning one could not profit from it which of course some did and in a huge way.

Morality regardless of what ever we may be told is a point of view which has always been; as what is considered to be moral by one individual or society will not necessarily be considered as such by another individual or society. For instance some may consider adultery as immoral though the law in most countries does not regard it as illegal or at least not anymore. As another example I can state how in some countries alcohol consumption is considered illegal on religious and moral grounds though in others it is not. However morality should be distinguished between right and wrong. Of course never loosing sight of how even these two to a large extent are also subjective to interpretation though for the most part it is accepted by most of society that murder and theft are wrong.

With regards to the morality of gambling; we like many other things such as prostitution, drinking, same sex marriages, smoking, and drug taking can always argue about their moral aspects and their effect on society as a whole but can it be considered wrong for people who are past a certain age (18 in most countries) to willingly risk loosing their money in an attempt to win more of it even if this be on the internet? These people after all are aware that there is a chance that their money will be lost, at least to them. This is a question I would reply in the negative; giving the following reason. Why should it be less moral for a person to win or loose money in gambling on the internet then it is on "Wall Street"? This being a place were even larger sums of money are won and lost. If we lend some thought to the matter; is "investing" money on the stock market not a form of gambling as one is never sure one will profit or not unless one has inside information which is even illegal. Naturally I am aware that there are those who will say that on the stock market money is neither won nor loss but simply changes hands well is it not the same case with online gambling and in this argument, let it not slip our minds that investing (or gambling) on the stock market may also be done on the internet.

If we look at the issue from an even broader perceptive is not gambling on the internet less harmful on the whole then investing or gambling on the stock market? Depending on how one wishes to label it, always bearing in mind that gambling is an activity in which money changes hands more by chance then by skill or knowledge. The stock market naturally being more harmful by virtue of being able to cause devastating effects on the economy of the whole world whereas internet gambling may realistically involve only those who directly partake in it. Furthermore losses from internet gambling could never even approach those that were caused by the "sub prime market" which has set the world in to recession; though few are willing to use the term, at least for now.

The reason the United States congress has seen fit to declare gambling on the internet as illegal is based upon "morality". I personally do not see how this be "immoral"; if such a word could be applied to people who by there own free will are risking their own assets as opposed to those who do likewise on the stock market. The stock market being a place where on many occasions those who invest do not even do so with their own savings but those of others who are not necessarily among society's most affluent or sometimes not even informed as to what is being done with their money. Is it not or should it not be up to each individual to decide in what form he or she wishes to spend or risk loosing his or her financial resources or in this case not even on what but where??

However I in what be this whole affair see something else that perhaps some do not and that is if people are not allowed to gamble on the internet or at least those in the US then would they not be forced to do so exclusively in American casinos as they would be left with no other legal choice. This making it abundantly clear that with a law forbidding gambling on the internet on supposedly moral grounds then American casinos would no longer be loosing out to internet competition. This leaving the road clear for American gambling loses to stay in America as opposed to leaving the country. This in my opinion is the real issue that is being disguised as morality.

Naturally since casinos would be making more money because of this law so would the United States government given that casinos would have higher revenues to be taxed which in a time of crisis would not come as unwanted income. This even goes further as when Americans gamble less in casinos and more on the internet they also spend less money on traveling to those casinos, or staying in the hotels which own the casinos. This creating a situation that internet gambling has not only taken profits from American casinos but all those businesses connected to them. So taking these factors in to consideration, I in my believe (if no one else's) claim this law was passed to assist casinos in America and their associated businesses in making higher profits while hiding behind the smoke screen that is morality. Moral grounds being that people loose their money and communities suffers as if the same thing did not occur when the identical activity is carried out in the casinos of Los Vegas or Atlantic City.

Of course like with prohibition which did not stop drinking but rather increased it; this law based on hypocrisy will also not stop online gambling either; even for Americans (let alone people from other countries) as all they need do is travel outside the US or simply find a foreign bank to issue them a credit card that is not bound to uphold laws that simply do not make sense and serve no purpose other then the interest of a select few. ?

Computers and The Internet
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