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The latest edition of a respected column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal drew a picture of an online gambling environment that is changing. A 60 Minutes and NBC investigative piece into cheating in the industry reveals a dire need to regulate the billion dollar industry, says Jane Anne Morrison, author of the column.
The need for regulation has always been there, however, with the escalating downturn in the economic woes of the United States, coupled with an incoming Democratic White House that needs funding for the many programs Democrats wish to initiate, the time may be prime for online gambling legalization, regulation, and taxation in the United States.
But Morrison raises a question as she concludes her column: “if the software is so vulnerable that players were cheated of more than $20 million, can government regulation really protect the online bettor?”
The answer to her question in a word is, yes.
“The problem is not that the software has glitches that make the player vulnerable,” said CGW analyst, Gordon Price, “the problem is that the cheaters, and those who allow the cheating to take place, are not held accountable.”
Price suggests that with regulation those conditions will change.
“There actually is pretty good oversite now,” Price said. “It’s just that the people don’t have something concrete that they can look at that makes them feel comfortable. It’s kind of like in the movie Tommy Boy, when Chris Farley says ‘Why would somebody put a guarantee on a box? Hmmm, very interesting. If you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will.’
“That is how the online gambling industry is now. It’s pretty well regulated, by affiliates, by the UK, by Antigua, by Kawnake, and by players. But not by the US, and that is the ‘guarantee’ that ignorant spectators are looking for as a sign of lack of corruption.”
Price also points out that the corruption in the NBC piece was caught by players, through analysis, through communication at popular player forums, and “through gambling news agencies like this one that are quick to report and reprimand corruption until it is completely blown out of the water.”
Price also pointed out that all $20 million of the money that was cheated out of innocent players, was returned to the players.
So the easy answer to Ms. Morrison’s question is yes. The Internet gambling industry can easily protect players from corruption through regulation.