Gambling is anything but new. It has been in existence since time immemorial. Every community had its way of gambling; some unique to others and some similar in the way the other community practiced gambling. It is a term that is used to refer to the wagering of something of material value in expectations of gaining more from it (McMullan and Rege 54-85). It relies heavily on three factors including consideration in cash or cash equivalent. Gambling also relies on the chance that represents the likelihood of losing or gaining and lastly it relies on the prize, which represents the item acquired or lost in the process. Many people confuse gambling with insurance. However, the two are different in that, the purpose of insurance is to indemnify the insured in the event of a loss while gambling is undertaken with the sole aim making a profit. Religions such the Catholic Church believe that so long as there is no moral hindrance to gambling such as fraud, then gambling should not be limited or viewed as illegal. However, gambling practices that lead to adverse social consequences, such as murder should be limited and at times banned from society. Today, gambling is one of the biggest commercial activities around the globe. Just like there are many individuals participating in gambling; it is also the same way that there are different types of gambling. Many forms of new gambling techniques have developed. There are gaming (gambling) houses in almost every major city, which operate day and night. These places attract hundreds of people and are heavily guarded. There are new platforms of gambling and different varieties for different sets of people. This essay evaluates one such new development in gambling – the online gambling. Thispaper summarizesthe study of online gambling among college youths. It goes ahead to discuss the various concepts related to online gambling from its types, impacts to the society, the target market, to the disadvantages it poses to the gamblers under this platform.
What is online gambling?
Modern gambling has been simplified by the development of the internet, which provides many different sites that keep on developing to offer gambling opportunity to people. These sites run day and night, and gambling happens in real-time. So what is online gambling? Online gambling also known as Internet gambling is any form of gambling that uses digitalized means including computers, TVs, consoles or a mobile device(McMullan and Rege 54-85). In online gambling, there are no interactions between the dealers and the player. As a matter of fact, there is no dealer as the gambling is controlled by computer programs.
Different countries have taken different legislative approaches concerning gambling. In most countries, online gambling is illegal for underage persons. Most of the online gambling sites contain age verification procedure to ascertain the age of those who visit the site and thus prevent underage people from gambling. Such procedures may include asking for a name, when someone was born, identity card number and payment details of the gambler.
Online gambling offers dozens of games. There are those sites that offer slot machine games while others offer computerized forms of traditional casino games (Griffiths, et al. 194-204). The games are properly designed with fancy graphics resembling the real slot machines. Rules and payment details can also be checked through the internet. Other categories of sites provide a platform for online sports betting that represents another type of online gambling. These types of online gambling are discussed below in details.
Types of online gambling
- In this game, players bet on the face value of the playing card combination. The player holding the highest valued hand wins the game.
- It is mostly common among hard gamers, and it depends virtually on chances because one’s are usually determined by the cards that one is served. The game consists of only three outcomes including player, banker, and tie.
- Roulette is a game that involves betting on any number, color or a combination of the two.
- Online craps. This game involves timeless rolling the dice; luck plays the biggest part in online craps.
- Online slots. Slot games usually offer high payout to winners. This game can be highly addictive and requires budget discipline. A low budget would also see one increase their winning chances.
- Online sports betting. These sites enable users to place bets on various types of athlete compensation including horse races, soccer, basketball, and boxing. They offer odds depending on their bookmakers and the probability of a particular superiority of an opponent to win the context.
- Blackjack is one of the simplest games where the players draw card of combined value, which must add up to close as 21. If the combination exceeds then, the player loses the game.
Characteristics of online gambling
The above categories of online gambling have the following features:
- Online gambling games can use multiple languages depending on the user. The use of multiple languages is enhanced by the accessibility of software programs that filled with different forms of language especially the international languages (Manzin and Biloslavo 101-102). The use of different languages is a development and an upgrade of the traditional games that used only one language.
- Online gamblers play with real money. They transfer or wire their wagers electronically. The prize after winning is also wired to their respective account; in online gambling there is no exchange of money for chips.
- There is a variety of payment method. The payment methods vary from cash to cards unlike in traditional casinos where minimal cards are accepted, and cash is widely accepted.
- Currencies accepted. Online gambling is an international business and as such various currencies are accepted depending on the country of origin of the gambler.
- There is no specific dress code. Most online gambling is done through mobile gadgets, such as smartphones, especially by college students. On can place a bet anywhere dressed in whatever way he wants.
- Online gambling provides a variety of games. One can take part in various games. One site may provide the option of betting for a different type of games.
- Additional instructions or assistance to the players is given or communicated through telephone calls, messages, and emails. The instructions provide clear guidelines regarding the game inclusive of playing rules and techniques.
- Online gambling provides and guarantees the gamblers privacy. There are no cameras to monitor the process of gambling; the players are also not required to provide their personal identity cards.
- There is limited distraction while playing. The only distractors are graphics and sound unlike in traditional casinos where people are constantly shouting distracting the concentration of the players.
- The gambling atmosphere is not competitive; the gambler can relax while gambling. Lack of competition is the opposite of traditional casinos where physical competition is intense.
- The operating costs in online gambling are usually lower compared to their equivalents in traditional casinos. These costs are increasingly reducing with developments in new technological systems.
- Online gambling sites provide a 24-hour access throughout the year to any part of the world provided there is internet connection, unlike traditional casinos that are accessible only during the business hours.
Development of online gambling
The hasty development of online gambling cannot entirely be associated with the development of technology, but also the fact that people can play in wherever place they may be. This aspect of accessibility has expanded online gambling market by transforming potential players into real and active ones. Companies that are in direct link with online gambling providers have also enhanced the development of the online gambling industry. These companies have gone after online gambling due to several business reasons including the fact that online the casino market is growing at a very high rate with the prospect of yielding high returns on the investments. The companies have also been attracted to online casinos because of the few legislations regulating online gambling market entry. Lastly, the company is attracted to online casinos due to the running costs of online casinos. The operating costs of these businesses are low compared to a building, running and managing traditional casinos.
Dangers resulting or posed by growth and development of online gambling
Apart from the numerous opportunities and possibilities offered by the development of online gambling, the dangers that come with it should not be ignored. Studies have shown there are three types of dangers of online gambling including:
- Problem gambling
Problem gambling is the uncontrollable urge to gamble continuously without stopping. It is the act of gambling until it causes harm to oneself and others. Individuals at this point display the following characteristics. They are unable to control their gambling activities or even stop it even when they try (Raylu and Oei 10). They also have increased desire to gamble with huge money in the pretense of wanting to recover what they lost the previous night. They also lie to others especially to the family to conceal the depth of their gambling problem. These characteristics will eventually lead to two major problems including serious ones like being depressed, which can result in one harboring thoughts of suicide.It can lead to debt, poverty and family breakups. Online gambling can also lead to less severe problems such as chasing debts, feelings of guilt, mild depression, and high expenditures.
- Youth gambling
Youth gambling can best be understoodby evaluating the findings of the research study conducted on college gamblers. The term youth in this context is used to refer to college students who were interviewed for the purpose of this essay. The study was conducted using college students as the subject. The methodology of the research at the first was through face to face interviews. However, the interviews were not effective and could not provide the answer the study aimed at getting. Therefore, there was a need to change the methodology of researching to the use of questionnaires. The questionnaires contained questions regarding their views on online gambling, their experiences with online gambling and the impacts the gambling has had in their lives.
The findings of the research showed that almost three-quarters of the students interviewed and those that answered the questionnaires successfully took part in online gambling. Most of the gamblers especially men visited sports betting sites where they could place bets on the likelihood that their favorite teams would win. The betting was also influenced by their love for a particular club.
The results of their gambling influenced the students in different ways. In any case I the student lost he would result to the bottle. Drinking alcohol was associated with both losses and wins. If someone lost, he could drink to forget the loss while if he won he would drink to appreciate and to celebrate. Under all circumstances, online gambling was creating a double tragedy on the lives of the students from gambling to drinking. Online gambling would also lead to loss of money. Some students would go to an extent of even sacrificing their accommodation fees with the objective earning double or triple the amount (Griffiths, et al. 82-89). Online gambling also made the students perform poorly in their studies. Constant loss of money put the students in a stressful situation and. Therefore, it was hard to concentrate on their studies and make good grades.
The study also found out that many colleges are limited in the accessibility of the gambling websites within the school. This approach aimed at reducing the gambling practice using the college’s LAN. The youth is at a higher risk to join online gambling than traditional casinos. Serious online gambling operators take actions to prevent youth gambling including setting age verifications systems. However, only a few of online gambling sites offer any prevention mechanisms to keep teenagers off the site.
Criminality is the third danger posed by the development of online gambling. There are three categories of criminal activities: fraud by operators, hacking and money laundering. Fraud manifests itself in two forms: internal and external frauds (Gainsbury 185-193). External frauds may include credit cards frauds, customers colluding to defraud the business operations, and blackmail against specific employees of the company. In general, external frauds targets legitimate online gambling businesses. Internal fraud, on the other hand, includes acts by people inside the online gambling establishments to defraud the customers. These frauds may include the company operating fraudulently to defraud customers, individual inside the company colluding with external characters to conspire against the company and customers of the company. Internal fraud may also involve plans by management to acquire the credit cards of players illegally.
Hacking involves manipulation of the online casino encryption to enable the hacker get valuable and often confidential information that can be used to influence the outcomes of betting. Money laundering occurs through the unlicensed gambling sites. Criminals find it easy to launder money while disguising themselves as players. Fraud, hacking, and money laundering lead to huge loss of money from the gambling enterprises. Apart from losing money, the companies also lose credibility in the eyes of the public. Loss of credibility hurts the trust of the customers, and that may mean the loss of business.
Online gambling, at the extremes, can lead to negative social consequences as discussed in the paragraphs above. Regulations are needed to prevent these consequences from happening in the society, and to safeguard the morals of humankind. One of the key issues in related to online gambling is the financial risk involved. The risk comes about due to the probability of a significant loss. Addiction to gambling or problem gambling can lead one to gamble away his/her savings, property, inheritance, and even spouse. Regulations should be put to check the gambling behaviors of individuals, and if the behavior is uncontrollable, then extreme measures such as banning gambling altogether should be implemented.
The role of ensuring sanity in online gambling should not be left in the hands of the state only because other stakeholders have a role to play too. The parents have a role to play in ensuring that their children do not end up becoming gambling addicts. They may use strategies such as often talking to their children about the issues and risks that relate to online gambling. The parent should maintain an open communication with their children about their digital lives. They should also set rules and standards for the use of technology with punishments should those rules be broken. Punishing should, however, be done with care to avoid instilling fear in the child. If the children take part in the gambling, the parents should take the issue calmly and instead of scolding the child, he/she should help the child to avoid the same mistake in future. The parents should also discuss the financial effects of gambling. They should make known to their children the process of online gambling, and the serious consequences that gambling may have on the gamblers and their families. However, if the parent suspects that her teen is involved in gambling, she should take measure to minimize the extent of gambling. Such measure may include protecting the credit cards by putting the in places where the teen cannot access them. The parent can also restrict Internet access by blocking all sites that promote online gambling.
Colleges and schools that have free Wi-Fi access should also take up the role of protecting theirs students from online gambling. Most of online gambling especially on matters football takes place within the confines of colleges. The college ICT should install parental controls software in the college’s LAN. The software will be able to filter, restrict and undesired online activities including gambling. However, these controls do not provide complete assurance and, for this reason, they should be reinforced by awareness describing why the filtered activities are not of good to the students.
Online gambling enterprises also should be at the frontline to ensure healthy gambling as part of their corporate social responsibility. They should ensure that high standards of integrity within the gambling industry are maintained. They should also adhere to the provisions relating to underage gambling. Such provisions include implementing security measures to keep off underage persons from gambling sites. Their sign up process should also include clear information relating to underage play as well outlining policies of dealing with teenagers who break the terms of online gambling. The gambling site should also contain a filtering program to keep minors away from the sites.
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Griffiths, Mark, et al. “Online poker gambling in university students: Further findings from an online survey.” International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 8.1 (2010): 82-89.
Manzin, Massimo, and Roberto Biloslavo. “Online gambling: Today’s possibilities and tomorrow’s opportunities.” Managing Global Transitions 6.1 (2008): 95-110.
McMullan, John L., and Aunshul Rege. ‘Online Crime and Internet Gambling’. Journal of Gambling Issues 24 (2010): 54-85. Web.
Raylu, Namrata, and Tian Po Oei. A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Programme for Problem Gambling. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis, 2010. Print.