Gambling City

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The Evolution of Online Gambling

Author: Josh Wilde ~ author of Wilde is the Joker

New ideas often follow a certain pattern:

They appear, without any legal restrictions, and are proven popular.

Governments make them illegal but find that people are ignoring the law in droves.

Governments then legalize them, setting regulations and licensing requirements, and then enjoy the tax money they collect from them.

Online gambling, depending on where you live and the casinos are operated, are currently in the second and the third stages. Eventually, it will be in the third stage almost everywhere.

Graeme Levin, one of the earliest people in the industry and the founder of Gambling City is a libertarian who would have preferred that online gambling never left the first stage. I have very high respect for Graeme and consider him a good friend, but I disagree with him on this. Not only do I consider it inevitable that online gambling will reach the third stage but it is also preferable – even though it will probably eliminate the need for Steve Russo's job as manager of Gambling Grumbles.

Graeme believed that a completely unregulated market would foster competition that would drive the worst casinos out of business and let the best ones flourish. This only proved true to a limited extent. Once a casino's reputation deteriorated too much it simply disappeared and the same owners opened a new one, letting them collect deposits and avoid payouts for as long as possible. The biggest market, the United States, placed such strict restrictions on deposits and withdrawals that only a few casinos are even willing to do business there. For all practical purposes, the US is still in the second stage.

Most European nations, and many on other continents, are in the third stage – at least in its earliest incarnation. The best gambling sites do most of their business in Europe. I believe that the list of recommended casinos will eventually not mean which are honest casinos but rather which ones have the best software and make the quickest payments – which is exactly how it should be.

There is already movement in the US along those lines, albeit at present only intrastate, not interstate or international.

The US should have learned its lesson with alcohol. It was in the first stage for years and then it passed Prohibition, which succeeded in making drinking even more popular and giving a big boost to organized crime. Marijuana went through stages one and two and is now legal in a number of states.

Let's get online casinos into the third stage as soon as possible. Yes, each country can set the T&Cs that casinos licensed there can impose, but as they will be different from country to country they will provide more of the competition that my friend, Graeme, still craves.