Many people who oppose online casino gambling say that online casinos feed the addictions of problem gamblers. They say that people who have issues with spending more money than they can afford to lose in online casinos would not have an issue if online casinos did not exist. However, Carol O’Hare, who is the executive director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, says that a ban on online casinos and Internet gambling is far from the best means of dealing with people with gambling problems.
What does O’Hare recommend for problem gambling? She says that education and treatment is far more effective than banning online casino games. She says, “problem gambling is not going away because somebody puts it in a corner or puts the casino too far out of town so that we won’t drive there or take it off the Internet.” Just as alcoholics managed to find alcohol during the years of prohibition, problem gamblers will find a way to gamble their money whether or not online casinos exist.
O’Hare said that as the years pass, the percentage of people who have gambling issues and addictions continues to remain constant. This takes into consideration statistics before and after the introduction of online casinos. Mental health specialists believe that problem gambling stems from the same roots as other substance abuse issues and these people will manage to find a place to gamble no matter what. What they need is regulation and help.
Many online casinos set limits that allow players to only deposit a certain dollar amount per day, per week or per month. Other casinos allow players to set these limits for themselves. For instance, a player may set a limit for himself of $100 a day on online casino slots. Once this limit has been met, the software will not allow them to bet any more. These limits can be set for all sorts of online casino games including online blackjack, casino craps, roulette, video poker and more. Many online gaming sites, like Rome Casino, also have links to Gamblers Annonymous and other self-help tests, websites and services.
Carol O’Hare’s statements, that a ban on online casinos is not the answer to preventing the spread of problem gambling, came as a blow to supporters of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and others looking to pass a full ban on online gambling. These anti-gambling groups, including churches and religious leaders, have used problem gambling as one of their main arguments against casino gambling on the Internet. In fact, problem gambling is one of the main arguments against legislation for the legalization of online gambling.
There are several bills on the table at the moment that may lead to a boom in the United States online gaming industry. O’Hare’s statements serve to bolster current legislation that is in the works to legalize and regulate online gambling and online casinos in the United States.