Over the past few years casinos and online gambling in the uk have been subject to many newspaper stories, leading many to believe that an increased number of people were gambling, with the possibility of a large proportion succumbing to gambling addiction. However, the recently released British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 has proven otherwise, surprising those who held preconceptions about the numbers of gamblers in the uk, as well as gambling trends.
Many hypothesized that the survey would indicate a huge increase in the amount of gambling taking place, with special emphasis on those who chose to wager their money online link pos4d. However, the survey revealed that actual gambling figures for the year have remained almost at the same levels as they were back in 1999, proving that the anticipated increase in gambling numbers hasn’t materialised and suggests that there are not as many problem gamblers as previously thought.
The number of ways people can gamble has certainly increased in recent years, with the huge variety of scratch cards available, as well as new casino openings and the advent of online gambling. In fact, the number of online gambling websites has increased massively in recent times, along with the variety of games available to play and the ease at which users can wager their funds on these websites. It was this area increase in particular that led many to speculate on the potential gambling addiction problem in the uk.
The report shows that around 32 million adults have participated in some form of gambling activity within the past year, which includes the National Lottery and the instantly gratifying and readily-available ‘instant win’ scratch cards. Of these people only 6 percent placed wagers online, while only 3 percent gambled online by playing poker or casino [http://www.pfgames.com/casino.aspx] games or placed bets with a bookmaker using the internet.
These facts are probably surprising considering the amount of press that online gambling has received in the past, especially since the survey also revealed that the number of “problem gamblers” is a mere 250, 000 people – accounting for less than one percent of the total number of gamblers.
Of course there has been a lot of feedback from politicians and religious groups as well as the general feeling of the public. Although the study reveals many facts about the gambling situation in the uk, there is always more room for debate to consider the effects gambling has on society and on those who develop problems. As the debate stands in the aftermath of the report however, it looks as though the laws regulating gambling will remain untouched although there will probably be further inquiries into the regulation of online gambling. Newly proposed laws aimed at cutting off the money supply to online casinos have targeted credit cards. Mastercard online gambling restrictions have been increased on Us citizens attempting to make deposits at online casinos.
The legality of online gambling has been long debated. The act of making a deposit at an online casino may fall under the Federal Wire Act of 1961. The Federal Wire Act was created to illegalize using telephones for the purpose of placing bets. The telephone had allowed people who lived in areas where gambling was illegal to begin gambling in areas where gambling was legal. Online gambling deposits are required to be coded with a sic code of 7995 so that they can be identified. Many online casino operators use sic codes that are designated for other online purchases to avoid having deposits declined. Mastercard transactions using both the correct and incorrect sic codes have begun being declined at an unprecedented rate. The action sends a signal that Mastercard is preparing for the enforcement of America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This act is designed to ban the facilitation of online gambling by the banking industry.
Congress has unsuccessfully attempted to stop internet gambling in the past. The taxation of online gambling is extremely difficult. Congress views online gambling as a loss of income. while voters see it as a personal choice. This has made it very difficult to get legislation passed. In 2006 the UIGEA was put through as an attachment to a Homeland Security bill.
Online casinos operate outside of the jurisdiction of the us government and therefore it will be difficult to enforce the UIGEA. In reality the UIGEA could only be enforced in the most serious cases. It would be impossible to investigate all suspicious transactions. The real success of the UIGEA will be in creating financial barriers for new online casinos and making it more difficult for online casinos to accept deposits. Ultimately new businesses that will “launder” deposits by acting as middlemen will arise.