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Online Casinos May Fuel Gambling Addictions

Recent statistics have shown that more gamblers who bet in online casinos have gambling addictions than those who bet in regular casinos.

This statistic becomes apparent when we read stories in the newspapers of gamblers who have blown thousands of dollars of their own money and sometimes other people's money to fuel their addictions.

In England, a 23 year old man is in court for stealing £1 million ($1.85 million) from the company he worked for and blew the lot playing poker and sports betting in online casinos. The man had worked for the same construction firm since he was 17 balancing the books. He managed to siphon off the money by making electronic transfers, by writing checks to himself and withdrawals. Some days he was stealing up to £17,000 ($31,000).

The company didn't find out until they received a tax bill. When they tried to pay, there were insufficient funds in the account. After they investigated, they found that there was £400,000 ($740,000) missing from the account. Because of the money lost to online casinos the company has gone into administration and jobs have been cut.

A similar story occurred in Scotland, where a 25 year old man stole 13 of his parent's credit cards and blew £158,000 ($290,000) in just over one hour in online casinos.

Many lawyers in the UK and North America are reporting a rise in numbers of bankruptcies due to gambling addictions in online casinos and many different proposals have stemmed from this debate, such as putting caps on the amount of money that can be bet in online casinos or allowing one credit card per person in online casinos.

There is much talk of measures to stop gambling in online casinos but most experts believe that this is not the way to go. They explain that the problem must be dealt with from the root. That is recognising who is at risk from gambling addiction and helping them overcome the problem. Banning online casinos will not make the problem go away.

The online casinos industry pays £3 million a year into gambling addiction programs and research for the prevention of gambling addiction programs.

At the moment there are no solid statistics, but a major study is underway from the University of Las Vegas and Nottingham Trent University in the UK to research online casinos. 20,000 gamers will be given extensive questionnaires to ascertain who they are, what drives them and their general financial well being. It is hoped that the outcome of this survey will paint a clearer picture of online casinos, those who game in them and what can be done to protect gamblers in online casinos.

By banning online casinos the issue of gambling addiction will not go away. Instead, the issue should be approached by helping those vulnerable to deal with their addiction. It is not possible to remove casinos, slot machines and the lottery so they may not be tempted in the future.



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