Ethical Analysis of Online Gambling Essays

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Ethical Analysis of Online Gambling

Introduction

Open up your email over a long weekend and you’ll likely find a plethora of online casino advertisements. “Welcome Bonus up to $150 free!” Ask the traditional land based casino gambler on whether he would gamble online and his first reaction would likely be “Are you nuts?” When gambling at land based casinos, games are likely to be fair because the consequences of cheating by casino operators are disastrous. Casinos found to offer rigged games will lose their gambling licenses permanently. Land based casino gamblers are also virtually guaranteed that any winnings they accumulate will be paid out. However, Internet casinos are generally unregulated and offer neither of these
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Billions of dollars were spent on creating and maintaining gambling wonderlands such as the Bellagio and the Venetian. In contrast, creating a new online casino requires only licensing software from a casino software provider and maintaining the casino network services. Bear Stearns, a New York investment banking company that tracks the online gambling industry, estimates online gambling generated revenues of $3.5 billion globally in 2002.2 In comparison, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported estimated revenues of $9.45 billion for all Nevada casinos combined in the same year.3 Casino-on-Net, the largest online casino in the world, had revenues of about $200 million in 2002.4 Only a handful of Internet companies have higher revenues. For comparison, Ebay, which has become one of the most successful Internet companies, received annual revenues of $413.9 million the same period.5 Online gambling has become a legitimate and a powerful force in the gambling industry.

Government Stance

The legal status of online gambling in the United States isn't clear. According to U.S. Attorney General John Ascroft, the 1961 federal Wire Act prohibits casino games on the Internet.6 The Wire Act is a federal statute that prohibits gambling over telephone wires. "The Wire Act makes it illegal for providers to offer or take bets from gamblers over phone lines