|Gambling may be set to expand in Massachusetts. Yet whilst lawmakers debate whether to permit the opening of casinos some residents warn that gambling has already caused enough damage.|
Spokesman for the Massachusetts Gamblers Anonymous, Bob D: 'I used to gamble $200 a day at the horsetrack. I have a disease. Now I sit at my computer and the ads pop up, `You've won $500. Just click this site.' You can't even imagine. And Bob D has plenty of company. Thousands of Bay State residents gamble online according to organizations helping compulsive gamblers and Internet gaming companies.
Internet gambling has become such a craze in Massachusetts however that few are heeding the concerns. In fact, according to Bradley H. Jones, a member of the gambling study commission, the craze is having just the opposite effect. Popularity of online gambling is encouraging support for the opening of in-state casinos.
Inability of American law to focus on how to deal with online gambling has led congress to fail three times in its outright prohibition. Though measures have been introduced to make life difficult for online casinos the amount of online players is ballooning. Only three years ago Americans gambled an estimated $800 million. This is expected to rise to an estimated $6.4 billion next year.
The very nature of the Internet makes the outright prohibition of online gambling impossible to implement. Lawmakers look ready to accept this. President of Christiansen Capital Advisors, Sebastian Sinclair, specializes in market research on Internet gambling. He predicts that rather than try to end online betting the US would decide to regulate it, just as Britain recently decided to do.
The gambling commission in Massachusetts is due to make a recommendation on the issue of in-state casinos this month. Even Jones himself is looking ahead: 'I think that the argument about whether or not we should have gambling is somewhat passe. We have it.... we're already paying the social costs. Shouldn't we maximize the benefit?'