Internet gaming: License it, regulate it, tax it
More Americans than ever are turning to internet gaming and it is estimated that internet gaming will make about $10 billion in profits this year with 80% of consumers residing in the US. For internet gaming operators the issue dead simple, none of the traditional casino costs apply. They do not need land, croupiers or cocktail waitresses nor do they have to offer complimentary drinks or hotel rooms.
Even land based casino operators are changing their opinions regarding internet gaming. MGM/Mirage’s CEO Terri Lanni says that if government would legalize internet gaming, his company would double their revenue and back it up with the credibility of a publicly-traded company based in the US. MGM/Mirage owned an offshore internet gaming company but as it made no money, the site was shut down.
Nigel Payne of Sportingbet says the online gaming operators are better equipped to deal with problem gamblers than even land based casinos. Credit transactions track gambling behavior. Payne claims even underage gambling, although a much more difficult issue for online gaming operators to deal with, can be prevented with the correct security procedures.
Sen Jon Kyl disagrees with Payne, he says that children are often not supervised and could easily run up gambling debts on their parent’s credit card. The same goes for problem gambling, which internet gaming operator is going to knock on the problem gambler’s door and tell him to stop gambling.
Despite all these arguments for and against, internet gaming is here to stay. Is it not better to regulate it so that you can tax it and control it. This is a debate which will be hot for some time to come.