The Controversy Surrounding Online Gambling Regulation
The regulation of online gambling has been one of the most controversial topics of recent times. Since the inception of the industry in the late 1990s, jurisdictions, lawmakers, organizations and individuals all over the world have debated whether it should be completely legal and regulated or banned entirely. The United States is arguably the biggest center of controversy due to the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) enacted by President Bush and a republican-led U.S. Congress. Although the UIGEA does not specifically forbid American players from gambling online, it does speak highly of the disdain many U.S. politicians have for the industry. Ironically, even with this legislation in place, research shows that well over 50% of online gamblers worldwide reside in the United States.
The initial reaction to the UIGEA can be compared to that of Prohibition back in the in the early 1920s. It was similar in a sense that several publicly regulated offshore online casino operators abandoned the American market in fear of punishment from lawmakers. However, the drastic market shift that left players with fewer gaming options simply directed them to privately owned firms who were not afraid to accept wagers from U.S. citizens. For this reason, critics of the bill have frequently remarked that the UIGEA really does nothing to stop internet gambling for the simple fact that players can seemingly always find a loophole that allows them to play online betting singapore somewhere. Jurisdictions such as Antigua and Barbuda have labeled the UIGEA and other legal actions taken by the United States as discrimination against online casino operators and a breach of international free trade. Battles have already been won against the U.S. and several more countries are planning to file complaints because it continuously fails to make efforts to comply with WTO’s (World Trade Organization’s) filing back in 2005.
The United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy and many other nations have decided to regulate and tax the online gambling industry instead of outlaw it completely. In fact, several countries, including Germany, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and The Netherlands were warned back in 2006 by the European Commission for allowing local lotteries to offer sports betting, but preventing other operators from doing so. Charlie McCreevy, EU Financial Services Commissioner, recently hinted that more nations could be added to the growing list of juristidtions currently pending legal ramifications for refusing to open their markets to online gambling.
The Battle Continues
Recent studies conducted by the British government reveal that there are nearly one million avid online gamblers residing in the country. These players account for an estimated one-third of Europe’s approximate number of 3.5 million people who gamble online. When combined with nearly 20 million online gamblers in the U.S., you have a rather large group of global supporters that help to power the billion dollar per year industry that has become the internet gambling market. Players everywhere want a piece of the action so until viable agreements are reached, online gambling jdl688 sg regulation will likely be a controversial matter for some time to come.