I want to chat for a bit about online gambling safety. It’s an issue that doesn’t always get enough press from the actual online gambling community, which may create the impression that the community doesn’t care. That we’re into a free for all, let everyone gamble mode. Certainly this FTC warning seems to think that we don’t understand a few basic elements of gambling. And of course since online gambling is more available, everyone thinks it’s riskier and more addictive.
So, let’s look at that claim. Okay, I remember the first time I played at a slot casino online and it was captivating. I could enjoy all the slots excitement of a Vegas slot machine without having to leave the house. This was the best thing ever. But the newness wore off and when I recently had to earn out a casino bonus I’d taken, I found myself being somewhat annoyed by the amount of time I had to spend playing. And university studies done on online gambling have shown that’s a common reaction. We’re intrigued by anything new and new gamblers spend a lot of time at the casino. But that tends to decline after a couple of weeks when the newness wears off and it turns out that online gambling is no more addictive than live gambling.
You can lose money at it. Well, all gamblers should know this and if you are unable to gamble within a budget, you do need to seek help. Many casinos even offer self-exclusion policies that allow gamblers with problems to tell the casino not to let them play. But many people really can gamble, either online or at a live casino, without going over their means. And many gamblers aren’t high stakes players risking thousands on a bet. There are plenty of gamblers who can spend a night playing nickel slot machines and potentially spend less money than a trip to the movies costs these days.
Yes, there are people who shouldn’t gamble and all of us need to take steps to make sure that we aren’t risking more than we should. But for those who can and do gamble wisely, the option to gamble should remain available.