In recent weeks, online gambling in the US has been a hot topic. Rep. Barry Frank has been working harder than ever in congress, pushing for the current gambling ban to be overturned and fighting for the rights of gamblers across the country. But not everyone is on his side – there are groups and individuals that strongly support the current online gambling ban, and do not want to see it overturned.
The law that has tried to ban online gambling in the US is called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and it’s been around since 2006. It is not very strict, and there are ways for players to work around it and still gamble on the internet, but the real problem is that the law scared away some big gambling companies. Microgaming, for example, one of the largest producers of online gambling software, no longer lets US players join any of their casinos, and it’s all because of UIGEA.
While Barry Frank and others work to overturn the UIGEA, groups like Focus On the Family, a Christian organization, feels that the current ban on internet gambling in the US is a good thing. This and similar groups have several arguments. They say that allowing online gambling will just lead to more problem gamblers, and will tear families apart. They argue that online gambling is more addictive than offline gambling. They also argue that there are no casino bosses to ask people to leave the tables if things get out of hand.
These claims seem valid, but in fact, recent studies by Dr. Howard Shaffer, The Director of the Division of Addictions at Harvard Medical School, suggest that online gambling is in fact less addictive than offline gambling, and that players who gamble exclusive on the internet are less likely to develop addictions.
The battle will be long and hard, and it’s too early to predict the outcome. Both sides have their arguments, and time will tell what happens to the UIGEA, and to online gambling in the US. Until then, there are still internet casinos that offer online blackjack and other great games to US players – find them here!