Negative Effects of Gambling

? The addiction to gambling can leave one in bankruptcy. Rehabilitating the gambling addicts needs money and time, and the process is not very easy. Their debt keeps building and it may reach an amount that exceeds their capacity to repay.

? Additionally, rehabilitation and public assistance systems are taxed.

? A majority of those addicted to gambling have substance abuse disorders.

Games offered in casinos, table games like poker, Red Dog, and Blackjack, as also electronic games like Slot Machine and Video Poker are some of the common types of gambling. Some take to substance abuse to supplement the high they get from winning huge sums while gambling. Some go that way to forget the sorrow of losing big sums when gambling.

? They start borrowing money and take secret loans. Thus, gambling can have a grave economic impact which is difficult to reverse.

? Apart from absence at work and drop in efficiency, a common observation is that gamblers tend to steal money and engage in fraudulent behavior to recover from financial losses incurred when gambling, or to get more money to bet.

? Similar to how an individual keeps consuming substances like drugs or alcohol to experience an altered mental state, he continues to gamble. According to the National Research Council, 10 to 17% of the children of problem gamblers have been abused and so have 25 to 50% of the partners of problems gamblers.

Initially, one looks at gambling as a way to run away from life’s problems, or from stress, anger, and loneliness. Forget satisfaction or peace, it is not even refreshing in the real sense. Thus, gambling practices cause a huge financial burden on the families of the affected and on the society at large.

? Addiction to gambling has been linked with substance abuse. They engage in gambling activities at the cost of their time with family and friends. It soon becomes a habit that can’t be broken.

You could be at gunpoint or holding the gun. Over time, it becomes a habit, and eventually an obsession that can’t be overcome. The two go hand in hand. The greed never ends and they keep betting more and more. The National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG) describes this type of gambling behavior as problem gambling.

Gambling refers to the betting of money on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the intent of winning additional wealth. It can drag you into crime, gambling isn’t fun.

? Gambling is practiced as a means of recreation. A study by the same university suggested that 73% of the individuals who are imprisoned are found to be problem gamblers.

? The costs of treating compulsive gamblers are huge. It only leads to a thoughtless expenditure of money and valuables.

? Gamblers often exhibit mood swings and a strangely secretive behavior. In spite of the losses incurred, they continue betting. The addiction has negative effects on one’s physical and mental health and it proves to be detrimental to one’s social, personal, and professional life. On giving a serious consideration to the negative effects of gambling, we realize that it is best avoided.

? Substances of abuse are served at casinos and in pubs and clubs, thus increasing the likelihood of gamblers consuming them. The addiction gets on to the gamblers to such an extent that they fail to think wisely before acting. Betting is a mentally taxing activity, and as one goes on risking more and more money, anxiety starts building.

? Gambling can lead to criminal activities. They tend to stay away from their near ones, resulting in distrust between them and their loved ones.

Compulsive gambling leads to bankruptcy

? Research has shown that gambling can lead to harmful behavior in people. The addiction leads people to continue with gambling irrespective of whether they earn or lose in the deal. A recreational activity is supposed to be refreshing and relaxing, but something like gambling is contrary to the very purpose of recreation. In the following sections of this Buzzle article, we discuss the negative effects of gambling on the individual and society.

? According to a research by NCPG, 76 percent of problem gamblers are likely to have a major depressive disorder.

? Gambling has proven to be addictive. The skill of a gambler lies in weighing the three parameters and making a decision about what amount should be staked and how much should be expected in return.

? People who fall prey to gambling tend to remain away from their families and waste money on other bad practices. The effect is similar to that of having a drug or a drink, which is why gambling changes one’s mental state and mood.

? Problem gamblers and addicts tend to abuse their family members. Due to lost mental peace, they may ill-treat their spouse and children. It causes a decline in his/her work performance, thus hampering his career.

? Over time, the practice of gambling starts becoming a habit and begins to have damaging effects at psychological, physical, and social levels. The addiction robs a gambler of all the productive time and leads to loss of efficiency at work. When they lose the money they had risked, they further gamble to recover the lost amount and it becomes a vicious circle even they can’t escape from.

? As gambling leads to increased criminal activities, in a way, gamblers add to the burden on prisons and the legal system.

? Studies show that children with a sibling or parent addicted to gambling, are more likely to take to substance abuse.

? Children of parents who are problem gamblers or gambling addicts tend to feel abandoned and angry, further increasing stress and leading to strained family relations.

Gambling = Thoughtless Expenditure + Waste of Time. Their mental state can even lead to suicidal tendencies.

? An Austrian study said that around 1 in 5 suicidal patients had a gambling problem.

? According to a study by the George State University, 50% of the problem gamblers commit crime. Card games, coin tossing, and dice-based games are some non-casino based forms of gambling. Because of this, they land in worse situations and take the wrong decisions in life.

? According to the University of New York, in people with alcohol use disorders, the chances of developing an addiction to gambling are 23 times higher.

Mental and physical health problems, financial issues, and conflicts in the family are among the common negative effects of gambling. The stress of risking huge amounts of money or the frustration after losing it can increase the tendency of abuse in gamblers. This proves to be detrimental to their social and family life. Addiction to gambling, coupled with substance abuse can make the gamblers physically abusive towards their family. Six to eight million people in America are estimated to have a gambling problem.

? The stress from gambling may lead to health issues like ulcers, stomach problems, muscle pains, headaches, and problems with sleep.

? Gambling at the cost of one’s job results in a decline in the quality of his professional life. To add to the so-called merry atmosphere, gamblers often smoke or drink while playing.

? People continue gambling with the greed of winning money. The decision to gamble money is based on three parameters namely; how much to bet, the predictability of the event, and the conditions agreed upon, between the gamblers. Sports betting and arbitrage betting are the other types

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How the Sports Betting Line is Made by RJ Bell

If an oddsmaker comes up with a preliminary line of USC -7, then an adjustment up to -7.5 or -8 would be made in response to the public’s expected USC bias. Of the 4-5 oddsmakers, generally the 2 most respected opinions are weighed more heavily by the Odds Director before he decides on the final line. Reasons for such adjustments include:

The purpose of these adjustments, like all line adjustments, is to more equally divide the betting action. By necessity their approach is very research-oriented and concise, since with millions of dollars at risk there is little margin for error. “We’re not trying to pick the team that covers the spread, we’re trying to make it a coin flip, a tough decision (for the bettor).

Once the opening line is released by LVSC, the individual sportsbooks decide if they want to make any adjustments before offering it to the public.

“The main objective is that our clients get equal action on both sides,” Seba said. This usually includes having up-to-date power ratings on each team. Of course there is an entire method to the madness on how the opening line is created. Also, adjustments are made after reading each team’s local newspapers to get a sense of what the coaches & players are thinking going into the game. We do this by drawing from past experiences and applying them to current situations.

Power ratings are the oddsmaker’s value of each team and are used as a guide to calculate a “preliminary” pointspread on an upcoming game. For example, the public might have heavy betting interest week after week on a popular college football team such as USC. “The #1 thing for us is to make a line for each game that creates good two-way action. By moving the line, sportsbooks can influence how the public bets on a particular game.

RJ Bell

┬ęPregame.com 2006

Website: http://www.Pregame.com

How the Opening Line Is Made

Oddsmakers can also change the line depending on various event-related factors such as player injuries or weather. The power ratings are adjusted after each game a team plays. .

Individual books having players who consistently bet with certain tendencies (such as an extreme bias toward favorites or toward a certain popular team like USC)

Oddsmakers at LVSC are professional sports junkies who love what they do and would probably do it for nothing if you asked them, but they do get paid for it. People think it’s much more complicated, but it’s not.”

Las Vegas Sports Consultants (LVSC) is the world’s premier oddsmaking company and the most respected authority on making the lines.

Experts working for the individual books having a strong opinion on the game

Once betting begins, sportsbooks can adjust the line at any time. Each of these oddsmakers bring unique opinions, strengths and weaknesses to the process.

There is a common misconception that point spreads represent the oddsmakers’ prediction of how many points the favorite will win by. Examples of non-game factors that would require an adjustment to a team’s power rating are key player injuries and player trades.

For example, if the pointspread on a game is 7 and most of the money is coming in on the underdog (taking the +7), sportsbooks will then move the number down to 6 ┬Ż to try and attract money on the favorite. Mike Seba is a Senior Oddsmaker at LVSC and has been making lines for the last six years. Stated another way, they want to create a line that half the people find appealing to bet one way while the other half find it appealing to bet the other way (known as ‘dividing the action’). Oddsmakers have to determine if any changes are necessary and send out an “adjusted line.”

Contributed by:

Moving the line is the oddsmaker’s effort to balance betting action, and often times such moves can have a major impact on a bettor’s decision.

The last step in the line-making process for each oddsmaker is taking one final look to determine whether or not the line “feels right.” This is where common sense and past experience with how games are bet enters into the picture. Seba explained that it all starts with each oddsmaker creating a line on each game based upon their own personal approach.

Divided action means the sportsbook is guaranteed a profit on the game because of the fee charged to the bettor (called juice or vig – typically $11 bet to win $10). If we’ve done that, we’ve done our job.”

What Is the Line Trying to Accomplish?

A round-table discussion among the 4-5 oddsmakers involved in making the line for each sport is then conducted and a consensus line is decided upon by the Odds Director before it is released to the sportsbooks. That is not the case at all – their intent is NOT to evenly split the ATS result between the teams; rather, their goal is to attract equal betting action on both sides. Obviously, if the line comes out a week ahead of the event (which is the case in football), there is much that could happen during the week leading up to the event that could affect the line.

Since the oddsmaker’s ultimate goal is equally dividing the betting action, public perception and betting patterns must be taken into account. In doing so they attempt to make more attractive the team that is getting less action. In our extended interview, Seba explained that there are 4-5 oddsmakers assigned to make lines for each of the major sports (pro & college football and basketball; MLB, NHL, boxing, golf).

The opening line is the first line created by the oddsmakers, which is then sent out to sportsbooks.

Once a game’s power rating based pointspread is determined, the oddsmaker will make adjustments to that line after considering each team’s most recent games played and previous games played against that opponent.

Why the Line Changes

“You either have a passion for it or you don’t,” Seba said

CNN – Gambling online? You bet!

The Wire Act obviously has no mention of wagering over the Internet.

Similarly, the Las Vegas-based public company American Wagering, owner of Leroy’s Horse and Sports Place in Nevada, also operates a sports gambling site located in Canberra called MegaSports (www.megasports.com.au). attorney’s case involved the casinos’ sportsbooks. In a highly publicized March 1998 “raid,” Mary Jo White, the U.S. Would-be wagerers open an account with a credit card, although some sites also accept cash and cashier’s checks. But according to Inland CEO Don Speer, elusive profits need not be one of them. But as more and more traditional firms become involved, the consumer will look for the brand name. Bets generally range from $1 to as much as $300. Casino games are available on a site or via downloadable software. Aruba, for one, is refusing to extradite any indicted individuals to the U.S., and thus far the U.S. 474, introduced into the Senate by Arizona’s John Kyl in 1997 as the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.

Second, legislation should be technology-neutral. attorney’s office theoretically operate out of the Caribbean. The defendants, many of whom live abroad, were threatened with up to five years in prison and $250,000 fines.

Does the seeming invincibility of online gambling make it an enticing business? Jason Ader of Bear Stearns, urges caution. Justice believes that any legislation addressing criminal misuse of computers or computer systems (including the Internet) should have three vital characteristics. White’s hesitancy suggests that the law may not be as solid as she thought when she indicted. Legislation tied to a particular technology may quickly become obsolete and require further amendment. attorney for the Southern District of New York, indicted 14 managers of six Internet companies for offering gambling on their sites. Says Sinclair of Christiansen/Cummings: “You are going to feel more comfortable wagering with a Hilton than you will with Joe’s Casino.”

You might think that the prospect of competing against the likes of Microsoft would terrify a $20 million company like Inland. One Australian state, Queensland, is already awarding licenses for online gambling, and others may follow soon. If, on the other hand, an activity is in the physical world – betting on horses, or casino betting with Indian tribes – it becomes subject to federal criminal sanction when it occurs in cyberspace. (The company’s Indian casino and Web-development divisions make more.) “This is the really exciting point, because I know where it goes from here,” Speer said in an interview.

Take Interactive Gaming and Communications, another publicly traded company, located in Blue Bell, Pa. Even the precise number of online casinos is hard to calculate. The Justice Department doesn’t think that online casinos (including those that offer gambling on sports events) can legally conduct business in the United States, even if they are based in places where gambling is legal. “Think about what would happen to Wal-Mart (WMT), General Motors or Microsoft if these companies had to continue to dodge federal roadblocks to access their customers,” says Sebastian Sinclair, senior associate at Christiansen/Cummings Associates, a management consulting firm. Today, a roster on one “gambling portal” site lists well over 200. They almost always include slots, blackjack and video poker, but many sites carry more exotic games, from baccarat to pai gow. Packer is a man with a voracious gambling appetite. As Timothy L. His equal partner is Australian tycoon Kerry Packer of the Crown Casino in Victoria. Tony Cabot, an attorney specializing in gaming issues, says flatly, “When you see Kerry Packer get together with Microsoft, you have to believe there is a future for this type of wagering.” . …

The prosecutors’ focus on sports bets appears to stem from legal precedent in the law they relied on.

But even if Congress comes up with the best-crafted legislation in history, there are significant factors beyond its control. has had little cooperation from any other nation.

Nonetheless, some experts think the case could be made to stick. The American Gaming Association, a trade group of gaming firms, maintains this view regarding online wagering: “The industry has been state-regulated and we think it should remain that way. “Federal legislation will make it difficult but not impossible for Internet gamblers in the U.S. But the travails associated with fending off lawsuits have essentially put the company out of business.

Gambling is as at least as old as Christianity (that is, if Ben Hur can be trusted). to gain access to offshore sites,” says Sebastian Sinclair of Christiansen/Cummings. That may suggest that, as some legal observers have argued, the 1961 federal Wire Act is too old and too loosely written to prohibit online gambling. “I wager on football games and usually bet in the neighborhood of $1,000 every weekend. “I use the service because it’s convenient and I have access to it when I want,” says one online gambler. Estimates range from $650 million to $1 billion a year, worldwide – a tiny fraction of the amount spent on more traditional formats.

The amount spent on Internet gambling is harder to calculate. If such gamblers are not satisfied by options available to U.S. For decades, Vegas was about the only legal option for gamblers. Attorney White has proceeded slowly and quietly.

First, legislation should treat physical activity and cyberactivity in the same way. In 1998, the Senate passed, by a large margin, an amendment prohibiting Internet gambling, but that bill died before becoming law. In 1997, published reports put the total number of operating online casinos at 15. (However, an HBO sports program attempted to locate one of these ventures in Aruba, and ultimately found that the genuine server was in a residential neighborhood in Bethlehem, Pa.) And the Caribbean nations would like to keep their haven status.

It’s not because they operate in any fundamentally different way. “Ultimately, Internet gambling operators are selling a product. In the ’70s, Atlantic City legalized casino gambling; in the ensuing decades, state lotteries, Indian casinos, gaming ships, offtrack betting parlors and card clubs have sprouted across the landscape.

All the sites indicted by the U.S.

Finally, the DoJ believes that any federal law must recognize that the Internet is different from other communications media: It’s a multifaceted communications medium that allows for both point-to-point transmission between two parties (like the telephone), as well as the widespread dissemination of information to a vast audience (like a newspaper). The Standard obtained a Department of Justice analysis of the bill S. The Internet is presently unregulated and we support a federal law regulating Internet gambling.”

Running an online casino carries all the usual challenges of Internet businesses, from low click-through rates to servers that fail. If an activity is prohibited in the physical world but not on the Internet, the Internet becomes a safe haven for that criminal activity.

Is Microsoft betting too?

The potential action is too compelling for even the largest tech tycoons to resist. In most cases, this means operating out of Australia. According to an analysis by Sue Schieder of Rolling Good Times, the online gambling magazine, the new legislation would not punish the casual bettor. A Ninemsn spokesperson says that the site does not now offer online gambling and would not comment on future plans. Even the firms that have enjoyed some stock-price popularity – such as Youbet.com – have shaky fundamentals. Failure to account for that specificity in legislation could stifle the Internet’s growth or chill its use as a communications tool. At one point, Interactive Gaming looked like it could be an industry leader. “And it is possible that records could be subpoenaed of various banks where these companies maintain accounts.”

One major barrier to profitability is the law. Kyl introduced a revised version earlier this year, removing some of the more onerous and hard-to-enforce provisions. In November 1998, for example, a division of Hilton Hotels acquired the company that runs Centrebet, a Web and telephone sports-wagering system based in Australia (www.centrebet.com.au). Nor would it prohibit online fantasy sports leagues, online lotteries in states where they are legal, or online betting on any live horse race where it would otherwise be lawful to wager. He claims Inland’s Internet gambling business went slightly into the black in March, on annualized revenues of about $1 million. That figure exaggerates the size of the Internet gambling sector, since some companies operate more than one online betting parlor. Why should it be legal to bet online on a horse race in another state, but not legal to bet on a basketball game in one’s own state? If Native American tribes can establish new, legal, physical places where adults can gamble, why shouldn’t someone be able to do the same in cyberspace?

The original version of Kyl’s bill failed most of these tests. Anyone over the age of 18 can set up an account with Centrebet and place money on a variety of worldwide sporting events, including U.S. But they say the more bettors, the better.

That partnership leads many observers to believe that an online casino – using Microsoft platforms, of course – is in the works.

The office of U.S. In January, MegaSports began taking Internet bets from Australians; it expects soon to allow global gambling on sporting events. citizens, it will be increasingly tempting for them to turn to locations abroad. Her higher-ups in the Justice Department appear to agree. One of Microsoft (MSFT)’s less-publicized adventures is Ninemsn, an Australia-based Internet service to which Bill Gates has pledged tens of millions of dollars. O’Brien observes in Bad Bet, his comprehensive account of America’s gambling industry, “Judging by dollars spent, gambling is now more popular in America than baseball, the movies and Disneyland combined.”

Internet Gambling Worldwide, Past and Future

So how is it that these companies appear to operate legally, but a dozen Caribbean cowboys found themselves under felony indictment?

But over the last several months, at least some traditional casinos have pursued the time-honored strategy of joining an Internet gambling trend that they can’t beat. Together, these sites have about 4,300 registered customers in 96 countries around the world. About 2,000 years later, Bugsy Siegel took the concept a step further and built the Flamingo Hotel in the desert town of Las Vegas.

Today, Americans spend some $600 billion a year on legal gambling, making it by far the favored national pastime. “Since there are no controls at present regarding Internet wagering, I would urge investors to shun these firms at present,” he says. “We get daily reports, and you’ll see these people who spend a couple of hours gambling, and the total amount they bet is like $1.81,” says Thomas Holmes, Inland’s head of technology. Blackjack players can very easily count cards, or even consult odds charts; the Kennyrogerscasino.com site actually has a printable chart showing the best strategy for every possible hand of blackjack. Says Opel, “Bringing in the big names and established companies only adds credibility and visibility to what we’re already doing.”

Is it legal?

A few hurdles have to be cleared before such ventures can take off – beginning with the federal government.

But a hard-core base will continue to turn to Internet betting for its clear advantages. And for sports bettors – who make up a majority of online gamblers, according to industry insiders – the ease of using cyberbookies can’t be beat.

Prosecutors focus on sports betting

Intriguingly, though, all the bets that make up the U.S. The minimum amount to begin an account varies. I’ve not had problems being paid.”

But the growing acceptance of online betting and the Internet’s inherent ability to shatter jurisdictions bring the inconsistencies of American gaming law to a boil. Almost all online gambling sites work the same. Passed during the term of crime-fighter Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the law was intended to outlaw betting over telephone lines. For one thing, gambling from one’s home allows for a variety of techniques that would get one tossed out of a regular casino. Like the Communications Act passed in the 1930s, technology has now leapfrogged the law. Their case is based on the 1961 Wire Act. Inland, for example, operates two Web sites in addition to the one bearing Kenny Rogers’ likeness: Casinoaustralia.com and Goodluckclub.com. “The telephone is being used to facilitate these wagers and I believe the government has a solid case,” explains Tony Cabot, a Las Vegas-based gaming lawyer and author of a book on Internet gaming. college and professional sports. The vast majority of customers will satisfy their demand for commercial gambling through less onerous and risky alternatives, such as lotteries, bingo, pari-mutuels and casinos.”

Although it uses a CryptoLogic template similar to several other online casinos, Kennyrogerscasino.com may be unique in letting bettors wager as little as a penny at a time.

More than a year later, however, no cases have come to trial, and nine defendants have accepted plea bargains for state misdemeanor charges with no jail time. But following a 1997 indictment, the state of Missouri settled a suit against the company and its president, Michael Simone, for about $35,000. (The company did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.)

Group calls for regulation of Net gambling

For years, another barrier to the growth of Internet gambling has been strong opposition from those most threatened by gambling sites: legal American casinos. That makes for an Internet gambling environment too porous for U.S law enforcement to plug. Legislators have considered enlisting Internet service providers to patrol for undesirable sites, although Internet gambling insiders consider that proposal dead on arrival. FBI agents placed bets on games – uniformly National Football League matches, although many other options are available – and followed up, whether they won or lost

2016 Oscars Predictions: Will Leonardo DiCaprio Win Best Actor? Video

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Transcript for 2016 Oscars Predictions: Will Leonardo DiCaprio Win Best Actor?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

. Well, there are, of course, other fun odd, one might happen to see them during the show. Check it out. They say Leonardo Dicaprio is the odds on favorite to grab the statue — 1-50. It would be about time and brie Larson tops the list for best actress for her turn in the movie “Room.” Big favorites they have. So far so good but saoirse, wow. He did it “Back to the future” like the Lakers back in the day.

We’re counting down to the oscars which is just three days away now and the members of the academy may have already voted. So many great performance, not easy either. Who is going to give the longest speech, as well. And the bravado odds proje projects a second win for Alejandro Gonzalez inarritu for “The revenant.” And inn and he won last year. We’ll see. For best picture the odds are in the “The revenant’s” favor, 4-9. All right. A grow with all of that. But what about the online oddsmakers? They have compiled their current odds of who could take home the golden statue so let’s take a look. The first to do a twofer

Online Betting Is Booming, Despite Critics

“The United States government is missing the big picture here.”

Lack of Jobs, Taxes Cited

And for Starrs, whose company supplies around 40 percent of the world’s online gaming operations, even prohibitive U.S. laws to do away with gambling on the Net could harm his company, which licenses customized Internet gaming software to 60 Web-based gaming operations that derive about $2 billion from wagers placed in the United States.

Ed Starrs may be a gambling man, but his latest bet has him worried.

“They think that this bill will stop people with credit using these sites,” says Sebastian Sinclair, an Internet analyst at investment bank Christiansen Capital Advisors in New York. The measure, H.R. legislators consider the legality of online gaming, experts say that the business is flourishing overseas.

Such restrictions simply mean he’ll concentrate his efforts in the rapidly expanding overseas market for Internet gaming, in particular nations like Europe and Australia, where the regulatory environment is much more friendly.

Bills Sidetracked in Congress

Starrs is president of Antigua-based Starnet Systems, one of a number of Internet gambling operations that have increasingly come under the scrutiny of U.S. That’s because efforts by lawmakers to fight to outlaw the expanding Internet-based gambling industry have so far come to naught.

And in the absence of such laws, say observers, Internet gambling has flourished.

In late June, Christian activists and conservatives pressured House Republican leaders into withdrawing the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act (H.R. After working its way through the House at a snail’s pace, those those legislative efforts have recently become sidetracked.

And if Congress is not able to tie up anti-gaming legislation soon, Sen.

Global Gamble

“Prohibition didn’t lower the consumption of alcohol,” says Albe Angel, head of public policy at the Interactive Gaming Council. Indeed, the global online gaming market has the potential to grow to $10 billion by 2002, according to Internet research firms Frost & Sullivan and Datamonitor.

Growth Amid Legislative Inaction

Online gaming — operated mostly by offshore, unregulated companies — has grown at an explosive rate. Most online gambling sites accept payment via credit card or let you wire cash electronically.

But he appears to have little to fret over, at least for now. 4419, is designed to stem the flow of funds to Web-based wagering sites by prohibiting the use of credit cards or other financial instruments for Internet gambling transactions. “Other first world countries are considering changing their gaming laws to allow for online gaming so the United States could find itself out-of-sync with other countries as the market continues to grow.”

And by backing the outlawing of online gaming, the established casino industry is very shortsighted, Sinclair says. “But these companies will simply open an account for consumers at an offshore bank.”

For its part, the Interactive Gaming Council, which represents Internet-based casino companies and companies like Starrs’, likens the prohibition of Internet gaming to the prohibition of alcohol. 3125), a bill that prohibits gambling businesses from taking bets or wagers over the Internet, in order to toughen its language and alter its exceptions.

The association has strongly opposed Internet-based casinos, arguing that those running offshore gaming sites are evading state taxes, licensing requirements and regulations, all of which apply to conventional bricks-and-mortar establishments.

The number of Web-based gaming site users in the United States grew to 5.2 million in the first quarter of this year, up from 3.4 million in the third quarter of 1999, according to Cyber Dialogue.

“This is a global marketplace,” says Sinclair. Instead, the association is pushing for establishing the online gaming industry as a regulated business.. “This sort of business, when it comes in the form of bricks and mortar, brings in economic development in the form of jobs and taxes — Internet gaming does none of those things.”

The trade group that represents the commercial casino entertainment industry disagrees with that assessment. Accoring to John Shelk, vice president of the American Gaming Association in Washington, D.C., the mounting legal barriers will make it difficult for casino companies to get into online gaming.

Starrs remains concerned that U.S. “They are doing the same thing as the big entertainment companies like Disney tried to do when the VCR came out,” Sinclair says. There are now over 250 online casinos, 64 lotteries, 20 bingo games and 139 sports books in operation on the Internet, according to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.

Despite the anti-gaming efforts, the use of gambling Web sites continues to rise, says Ed Lopez, an analyst at Cyber Dialogue, an Internet services and research firm based in New York.

While U.S. laws won’t mean he’ll be closing up shop.

Another anti-gaming bill’s prospects are also in doubt, say experts. lawmakers who would like to put online gaming out of business.

But so far, legislators have remained unable to push through Congress any substantial measures to curb Web wagering.

Anti-gaming legislation, citing the dangers of addiction, crime and consumer debt, first made its way before Congress in early 1997. Richard Bryan, R-Nev., recently speculated, some big Nevada casino companies might be tempted to launch their own Web-based gaming operations.

“The gaming market is changing and the biggest area of growth is in places like Europe and Asia,” says Starrs. “They thought that people wouldn’t go to theaters anymore, but they did keep going to see movies and now the video has become a whole new revenue source for the entertainment industry because it’s a different product.”

Explosive Growth, Unchecked by Law

“Our concern is that gaming regulations in each state will be overruled,” says Shelk. “We believe that the efforts of legislators to limit people’s rights to gamble online and short-sighted and inappropriate, and we think there ought to be a way for responsible companies to offer online wagering as a regulated product.”

It might a legal gray area in the United States, but online gaming is still legal in many parts of Europe, Australia and the Caribbean