The Growing Addiction to Online Gambling
Getting hooked on online gambling can be tough to resist. A gambler’s addiction to online gambling may cause financial strain, social isolation, and physical distress. In addition, some problem gamblers can’t resist traveling to Las Vegas or other casino locations to gamble. It’s a matter of choice whether to play in a land-based or online casino.
In 2000, there were about six hundred to seven hundred Internet casinos in operation. However, these sites were not regulated, which allowed operators to take advantage of customers. It was also difficult to trace the money flowing through these intermediary accounts. In November 2002, PayPal, the company that used to process online gambling transactions, stopped handling them. It was unclear how banks could transfer money to and from these accounts. Eventually, merchants turned to alternative payment systems. These companies include PayPal, FirePay, and ECash.
As online gambling became more widespread, regulators were increasingly concerned about the proliferation of the industry. In response, the United States Department of Justice announced that the Wire Act would apply to all forms of Internet gambling. The federal government has remained hostile to the industry. Some observers believe that the growth of online gambling has been phenomenal.
In 2004, the United States faced international repercussions from the World Trade Organization for its handling of online gambling laws. A panel of the WTO investigated the issue, finding that the United States was in violation of its international trade agreements. The United States was accused of treating foreign businesses like criminals. The panel found that the United States treated foreign countries in a manner that harmed its economy. The United States was considering filing a complaint with the WTO, but the Justice Department refused to change its position.
Throughout the 1990s, lawmakers drafted legislation to restrict online gambling. But as the number of casinos continued to grow, consumer protection practices lagged. As a result, some casinos operated without the necessary licenses. In 1997, 50 to 60 Internet casinos were operating in the Caribbean. The unregulated gaming boom came to an end with Black Friday. While some of these rogue casinos have since gone out of business, other casino operators are still operating.
To avoid being targeted by rogue casinos, online gamblers should be familiar with their customer protection options. For example, most online casinos require their customers to wager two to three times their bonus before they can cash out. Some offer prizes for returning customers. Other online casinos provide free play to new visitors to give them a chance to try out their games.
While there are many online gambling options, the best online casinos are licensed by reputable regulators. They should provide self-exclusion tools to help gamblers get out of the cycle of gambling. They should also provide links to support organizations. The sites should be reviewed by a third party to see if they are engaging in problematic gaming practices. If they are, they will need to receive a licence.