The Las Vegas Review Journal recently published the results of a survey conducted by the International Gaming Institute of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas on the online gambling habits of Nevadans and the possibility of allowing online gaming websites operating in Nevada for Nevadans only.
What did the Institute’s survey say? An overwhelming 96% of Nevadans claimed to not have any interest in online gambling. The rest of the participants, which is a measly 3.7% of a total of 1,000 respondents, claimed that they do engage in online gambling, but only in poker rooms and in sports betting.
It is hard to find the results of this survey palatable, or even believable. With the legal status enjoyed by gambling in Nevada, where hundreds of casinos stand side-by-side in Las Vegas, one would tend to believe that the people of Nevada are at least more open and willing to bring online casinos to enrich their gaming experience. To put it more simply, the results of this Nevada survey are too dismal to be true.
It cannot be helped to think that the thousand-strong respondents to this survey may probably be hiding their true interest in online gaming under a veneer of disinterest. After all, it is a solid fact that online gambling is illegal in the United States and big Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have gone through a lot of financial pain to settle the cases the US government filed against them for profiting from online gambling sites that are deemed illegal in the US.
One of the things that are hard to understand in this situation concerning the legality of online gambling in the US is that while it is not illegal for an American to place a bet in online sports betting sites and to play in online casinos, it is illegal for such websites to accept wagers from residents in the US. Something feels wrong and imbalanced here.
If we are to look back to two years ago, when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was first signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006, there is no reason not to believe that the laws that the US federal government put in place to make online gambling illegal in the country is basically a self-serving act. In the year previous to the signing of the UIGEA, the US federal government lost some US$12B worth of profits to offshore gambling companies. That is a lot of money in lost taxes for the government.
Going back to the Nevada survey, it is hard to take the results of this survey at face value. It is just sad to see something like this come to pass. It only goes to show how far the online gambling industry has been demonized under false and flimsy pretenses that are questionable at best. Proper means of protection, policing and education are still better alternatives to total banning of online gambling websites in the United States.