No Middle Ground In Online Gambling Debate

Published Sunday, May 03, 2009 -

Oh how the debate rages on. A tour of not so accurate information is coming to a town near you in the good old USA. Banning anything seems to bring out the best and worst in people.Those who are for the ban on online gambling have facts and figures that support their cause, and those who are against prohibition refute those facts and figures. Where is the middle ground in all this?

John Kindt and Earl Grinols are economics professors, those guys didn't see the huge economic meltdown coming and base their economic theories on old school ways of thinking. Now these learned men are validating more old myths and mongering old fears about the evils of online gambling and the danger of exposure to casinos. Now where were these guys when Las Vegas got started?

Mr. Kindt asserts that areas which introduce casino gambling see double-digit increases in crime and a doubling of problem gambling incidents. A number of studies have found compulsive gambling to be a symptom of addictive behaviour and the dysfunction does not increase numerically with the proliferation of online gaming. Actual evidence shows the crime myth to be equally unfounded.

Professor Grinols told the Florida legislature recently that new casinos would spark crime. Representative Joe Gibbons said his district had brought in casinos two years before, and crime had declined each year since. Mr. Grinols then said the crime jump would take three or more years to come into effect.

All the detractors' statements ignore research conducted by the Harvard Medical School, which finds online gambling a very small risk for addiction, and recommends licensing and regulation.

The economist Kindt uses the volatility of gaming stocks to claim they will ruin the markets. Gaming analyst Sherman Bradley says "Kindt is just another scare tactic demagogue, intent on inventing horrifying scenarios to prevent objective study of Internet gambling. Haven't these men discredited themselves to the point media would start ignoring them?"

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