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Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:00

Will We Follow Where America Leads?

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If you’re a games player or work in the casino online industry, you’ll know that all eyes are on the USA as drama after drama develops and unfolds like a spellbinding series of Dynasty.

If America sneezes, does the world still catch a cold?

Global dynamics have seen a lot of shift in recent years, but there’s no denying that America, whilst still a superpower, may have lost some of its pull. And in this case, we’re quite glad; if the gambling developments are anything to go by, we’d have to go back through each of our online casino reviews and write ‘SITE SUSPENDED’ across the lot.

The more cynical in the industry have postulated that the US government is simply gearing up to tax the casino industry to pieces – a valid point, if you look at Massachusetts’ Dan Winslow, who has proposed the legalisation of online poker subject to state taxes. But there’s no ignoring the family and religious groups lobbying the government, as vocal as they are. Their concern is that allowing players to visit a casino online will exacerbate social problems like family disunity, gambling addiction, drug abuse and crime.

Gambling addiction exists, certainly. As with most things, overindulgence is never a good idea. But I’m struggling to see how a country that prides itself on the protection of freedom, individual liberty free speech and thought could be comfortable with the notion of controlling an activity that would otherwise be legal to indulge in in a land-based casino.

It might be different if they had outlawed all forms of gambling, but to disallow only the technological development of an industry whilst – say, the adult industry, which is arguably much more directly linked to the destruction of the social fabric these groups seek to protect – goes relatively unchecked is a little strange.

In this, I am hoping the rest of the world doesn’t follow America’s lead. Tax is one thing. Criminalisation is quite another.