For most people, gambling is simply a way to make sporting events more interesting, or a part of an annual trip to Las vegas. However, for some, gambling can be a dangerous addiction that ruins marriages, ends careers, and can result in bankruptcy and even suicide. Gambling addictions have become so prevalent that the American Psychiatric Association now identifies “gambling addiction” as a psychiatric disorder afflicting one to three percent of American adults. With the growing popularity of online gambling sites, these estimates may continue to rise.
So what is the allure of online gambling? Well, the most obvious answer is convenience. Gamblers no longer need to travel to Vegas or Atlantic City, as the Internet provides access to gambling 24 hours a day, seven days a week with complete anonymity bandarqq
. Further, online gambling occurs without the actual or immediate exchange of money. It’s easy for participants to loose site of the fact that they are actually playing for real cash! Other attractions include the ease with which people can set up accounts and the escape associated with spending hours playing games online.
So when does an interest in gambling reach the point of addiction? There are generally three criteria used to diagnose an addiction of any kind. First and foremost is that the word “addiction” implies a loss of behavioral control. Those who are addicted simply cannot control their gambling. What may have started as a quick game of poker may turn into an all day – all night gambling bender. Second, addicted gamblers often develop a “tolerance” to gambling in the same way an alcoholic becomes increasingly tolerant to alcohol. Addicted gamblers will require higher and higher stakes in order to get the high that they desire. Finally, the extent to which a behavior interferes with one’s functioning is often used as criteria for diagnosing addiction. In the case of an addicted gambler, he or she may empty bank accounts, sell valued heirlooms, or build up massive amounts of dept. In extreme cases, an addicted gambler may steal from friends and family members to finance their addiction or even become clinically depressed following a devastating loss. Online wagering only began in the 1990s, but it didn’t take long for it to become a multi-million dollar business. The catalyst for the explosion in online gaming came in 1994, when the government of Antigua Barbuda, an island nation in the Caribbean, passed a law allowing online casinos to operate from their country.
Naturally, many people saw this as a huge opportunity, and two of them, Andrew and Mark Rivkin, formed a company called Cryptologic to write software enabling safe handling of finances in online gambling with till-then unequalled encryption practices. Another big company was formed in 1994 too: Microgaming.
Cryptologic and Microgaming were the two leading companies as afar as gaming technology. Cryptologic was first to make a fully operational gaming platform with electronic money account management. By the end of 1996, InterCasino was up and operational on the web – one of the very first online casinos. It wasn’t long before online casinos were a multi-million dollar industry. Not long after that it stepped up to being a multi-billion dollar industry.
In 1997, Microgaming released Cash Splash, the first online progressive slots game. At this time, players from the US were a large chunk of the online betting population, and this fact drew the attention of Senator John Kyl (R-AZ), who started drafting various legislative bills to stop people from gambling online. The first of these, the internet Gambling Prohibition Act, did not pass, and Americans continued their love affair with online
Other world players coming on board the internet casino train during the late 1990s included Argentina, and UK territories Gibralter and Isle of Man, which began online sports betting sites. By 2001, the British Channel Islands legalized online betting, and later that year, there was a push to legalize internet wagering in the uk as a whole.
In 2005, the uk Gambling Act was approved, and it was a boon for the internet casino industry. The law created the uk Gambling Commission to oversee all enforcement of regulations in licensing online gaming sites, preventing underage gambling and ensuring software fairness accreditation and reporting of monthly payout percentages. The Commission also investigates and prosecutes illegal gambling and basically is a very comprehensive online wagering regulatory agency. The Uk’s internet wagering oversight is now considered a model for other countries that want to regulate online gambling.
In October 2006, US legislators tried to legislate an end to betting online by American citizens with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), attached the bill to a “must-pass” bill on Port Security aimed at combating global terrorism, claiming that online wagering proceeds were used by offshore companies to fund terrorism. But just before enforcement of this act was to go into place, new legislation was written allowing Us citizens to participate in online gaming. Though it has passed from committee, there is no guess as to when or if it will be passed by the House and Senate. That means that currently, US online gamblers exist in a gray area of the law, though public sentiment is growing behind full legalization of online gambling in the us.