|The Federal Trade Commission investigation that revealed kids easily gained access to online gambling sites has been hailed as a breakthrough. |
The study adds to a limited body of research on youth and gambling, thus highlighting the problem, so something has to be done about it.
It may even help to legalize internet gambling in the United States, according to some.
Richard Fitzpatrick, president of the lobbying group Interactive Gaming Institute of Nevada, said the FTC findings could help efforts to legalize Internet gambling in the United States, where people already have access to illegal sites.
Unregulated sites have little incentive to block bets from teenage customers, he said.
Should Internet gambling become legal, however, Nevada operators could lose their gaming licenses if regulators discovered that minors could place bets, he added.
'They would be risking ... billions of dollars in investment. They have a lot at stake.'
MGM Mirage is pursuing opportunities in online gambling. The company was granted a license to operate an online casino in the Isle of Man, a small island nation off the coast of Great Britain. It expects to launch the site before the end of the year.
Isle of Man regulations are in place and prohibit minors from placing bets, said MGM spokesman Alan Feldman.
Legalization can't single-handedly solve the problem, said Carol O'Hare, executive director of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.
'We can only hope that those regulations aren't just written but that we have a system that enforces them. Those questions should be asked before (legalization) decisions are made.'
However, state Gaming Control Board member Dennis Neilander said. “Technology that bars minors is likely the toughest of all to implement. To get (technology) that really works is very expensive. It almost becomes cost prohibitive.'