|If the Super Bowl few weeks ago created online gambling fever, then the March Madness will beat that, say online wagering companies. The March Madness, which runs from March 16th through April 5th, enables basketball fans to wager for 21 straight days until one college team is crowned national champion. |
Betonsports.com, the online wagering company estimates that billions of dollars will be wagered on this year's NCAA Tournament through the Internet and office pools. Last year alone, more than 1.6 million bets were placed on the NCAA Tournament through BetonSports.com, representing a total handle of US$96 million. The average NCAA Tournament bet by a BetonSports.com client is US$60 vs. $50 during the regular season.
The operator warns that while this presents opportunities for the millions of people who wager online it also creates a host of serious issues for consumers and for the Government. ‘Even as consumers continue to embrace the Internet as a safe, private and convenient vehicle to gamble on sporting events, Congress and state and federal officials persist in their attempts to ban this form of entertainment,’ says David Carruthers, CEO of BetonSports.com.
He adds that the Congress can no longer ignore the fact that consumers are driving the popularity and growth of the online gambling industry. ‘March Madness brings acute attention to the fact that responsible legislation needs to become a top priority in order to protect the interests of millions of consumers who will bet on this year's tournament. Prohibition is not the answer.’
The San Jose, Costa Rica based company, which is licensed in the Caribbean, Central America and Europe has recently obtained a bookmakers permit in the UK.
Carruthers argues that the states, and not the federal government, that should develop laws and regulations governing online wagering. ‘The states have successfully done this for lotteries, horse racing and the casinos for decades. Why not also for online wagering as it's the same logic and the same benefits for consumers?’ he says.
Currently the Justice Department prevents media companies from accepting advertising from online wagering companies. ‘There's a long tradition in the U.S. of commercial free speech and I expect that basic American constitutional principles and rights will prevail once again,’ adds Carruthers.