The debate has been ongoing for several years, but only recently has the battle reached the mainstream media. Online gambling is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and many believe the Internet has been a cause of increased gambling addiction.
The latest evidence that the Internet is increasing the odds of problem gambling comes from RCA Trust. The charity has documented that over 200 women have called and complained that they are in debt due to gambling. The women have claimed losses from the hundreds to the thousands.
“This is becoming a major issue,” said Andy Todd, counselling manager for the RCA Trust, as reported by Scotland on Sunday. “It is the tip of the iceberg, there will be a lot more women out there who are in the same situation and do not come to us, or any other organizations, for help.”
The RCA Trust is one of many organizations in Europe that is attempting to help combat gambling addiction. In most countries, the laws have been changed in an effort to ensure the proper safeguards are taken to avoid increased problem gambling.
The Internet has become a tool for bettors that have saved millions of dollars from what they were saving on trips to their local casino. One gambler in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker summed up the feelings of many.
“When I used to go out to the casinos, I would have to spend money on gas, and then most of the time dinner, for me and my wife. All the while, we would have some drinks while we were gambling, and I found I spent over $100 a night not even counting my gambling,” said Ramsey Burns. “It just made so much more sense for my wife and I to order a pizza, grab a six-pack, and play some poker online.”
Burns and millions of other US poker players lost the ability to save money at home when the US Department of Justice issued indictments against Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars. Full Tilt Poker has since lost its operating license, and is being sold to a group of European investors.
The RCA Trust, meanwhile, blames not only online gambling, but the scope of the services that are offered. With the industry bringing in billions of dollars annually, it was only a matter of time before investors started opening up their own Internet casinos.
“The Key is the accessibility,” said Todd. “That people can log in 24-7 from their smart phone as well as from their computer.”
Mobile devices are becoming an increasingly popular way to gamble online. Applications have been authorized by several mobile companies, while gamblers can access their favorite online sites by using their smart phone Internet browsers.