With so much resistance toward online gambling regulation - citing the
protection of minors and vulnerable persons as the reason to not regulate - you
would think that the land-based gambling industry would get some of the brunt.
And while it certainly does, the fact of the matter is that much of the
resistance to not regulate online is actually in the name of protecting
land-based gambling interests.
Take the UK as an example. Since the passing of the 2005 UK Gambling Act,
which liberalized the entire gambling sector to include a greater number of
brick 'n mortar casinos and the legalization of online gambling, cases of
problem gambling have spiked. The only thing is that it's the brick 'n mortar
gamblers who calling for help.
As reported by the UK newspaper, MailOnline, the number of gamblers seeking
counseling help for addictive betting tendencies has increased by 25% since the
passing of the 2005 UK Gambling Act. To put this into better perspective, 38,000
people called Gamcare's helpline last year, compared to the 30,000 who sought
help in 2006. Over 9,500 people received counseling sessions.
The average amount of gambling debt rose from £13,800 to £17,500, with 7% of
callers reporting their debt exceeded £100,000. 60% of callers primarily made
wagers on fixed odds terminals, which are commonly found in betting shops, or on
football games and horseracing. 50% said they solely made bets at bookmaker's.
The most interesting stat of all is that only one in seven callers had
gambled over the internet, with even less actually opening an account at an
online casino. So while it cannot be refuted that problem gambling has risen in
the UK since the passing of the 2005 Gambling Act, the increase cannot be blamed
on the regulation of online gambling.