Gambling in Asia

While many religions and moralists may object to the act of gambling, it cannot be denied that it could, through proper legalization and monitoring, benefit nations as a whole. Illegal gambling may pose problems to a society, but as many nations are slowly discovering, its legalization coupled with proper controls can, in fact, turn out to be a better solution.

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Around the world, western countries like the United States of America remains to be the few places to earn revenue through legal gambling ufabet . This, however, does not mean that Asian countries are missing out this big opportunity. Already countries like Macau are advancing in their ‘gambling industry’, reaping about US$2.5 billion in early of year 2011. Of course, Macau, otherwise known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’ is quite unique, having had legalized gambling since the 1850s and is still the only Chinese territory that fully allows gambling. In fact, gambling is what boosts its tourism sectors, making it Macau’s biggest source of income.

Other countries, having witnessed the lucrative benefits, slowly but surely followed suits. In Malaysia, it is legal to gamble as long as it is operated under government permit or license; gambling at homes or in public places are considered as illegal. However, the legality of gambling are also restricted to certain ages and religions – one must be a non-Muslim and over the age of 18 in order to enter any legal gambling premises. By far, Genting Highlands’ casino resorts still draw large group of ‘tourists’, most of them from neighboring countries.

One of these neighboring countries happens to be Singapore, who used to be an anti-gambling nation. As a result, most gambling Singaporeans would travel to Malaysia and few came home with a fortune. Pressured to retain those income within Singapore as well as to boost the tourism industry, Singapore finally lifted its gambling ban in year 2005 and the very first Singapore casino was opened to public in early year 2010. The billions of dollars poured into this economy certainly did not disappoint; not only have the casinos vastly improved the country’s tourism but it was also predicted that Singapore may take over Last Vegas’ spot of the world’s second largest gambling hub.

But there is yet another up and coming Asian country that will attempt to knock Singapore off its glorious seat, and may just as well do so successfully. The Philippines generated about US$69.58 million in gambling industry in early year of 2011, all thanks to their gambling-favored laws that allow both offline and online casinos. There has yet to be any precedence or law that prevents the legitimization of online gambling. This is not surprising as gambling not only brought in tourists and income, it is also indirectly brought in foreign investors, something that the Philippines are lacking. However, legal online gambling sites are limited to only foreigners while Filipinos can gamble away at any government owned sites.

This is part 3 of a multipart series of articles regarding proposed anti-gambling legislation. In this article, I continue the discussion of the reasons claimed to make this legislation necessary, and the facts that exist in the real world, including the Jack Abramoff connection and the addictive nature of online gambling.

The legislators are trying to protect us from something, or are they? The whole thing seems a little confusing to say the least.

As mentioned in previous articles, the House, and the Senate, are once again considering the issue of “Online Gambling”. Bills have been submitted by Congressmen Goodlatte and Leach, and also by Senator Kyl.

The bill being put forward by Rep. Goodlatte, The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, has the stated intention of updating the Wire Act to outlaw all forms of online gambling, to make it illegal for a gambling business to accept credit and electronic transfers, and to force ISPs and Common Carriers to block access to gambling related sites at the request of law enforcement.

Just as does Rep. Goodlatte, Sen. Kyl, in his bill, Prohibition on Funding of Unlawful Internet Gambling, makes it illegal for gambling businesses to accept credit cards, electronic transfers, checks and other forms of payment for the purpose on placing illegal bets, but his bill does not address those that place bets.

The bill submitted by Rep. Leach, The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, is basically a copy of the bill submitted by Sen. Kyl. It focuses on preventing gambling businesses from accepting credit cards, electronic transfers, checks, and other payments, and like the Kyl bill makes no changes to what is currently legal, or illegal.

In a quote from Goodlatte we have “Jack Abramoff’s total disregard for the legislative process has allowed Internet gambling to continue thriving into what is now a twelve billion-dollar business which not only hurts individuals and their families but makes the economy suffer by draining billions of dollars from the United States and serves as a vehicle for money laundering.”

First of all, we have a little misdirection about Jack Abramoff and his disregard for the legislative process. This comment, and others that have been made, follow the logic that; 1) Jack Abramoff was opposed to these bills, 2) Jack Abramoff was corrupt, 3) to avoid being associated with corruption you should vote for these bills. This is of course absurd. If we followed this logic to the extreme, we should go back and void any bills that Abramoff supported, and enact any bills that he opposed, regardless of the content of the bill. Legislation should be passed, or not, based on the merits of the proposed legislation, not based on the reputation of one individual.

As well, when Jack Abramoff opposed previous bills, he did so on behalf of his client eLottery, attempting to get the sale of lottery tickets over the internet excluded from the legislation. Ironically, the protections he was seeking are included in this new bill, since state run lotteries would be excluded. Jack Abramoff therefore would probably support this legislation since it gives him what he was looking for. That does not stop Goodlatte and others from using Abramoff’s recent disgrace as a means to make their bill look better, thus making it not just an anti-gambling bill, but somehow an ant-corruption bill as well, while at the same time rewarding Abramoff and his client.

Next, is his statement that online gambling “hurts individuals and their families”. I presume that what he is referring to here is problem gambling. Let’s set the record straight. Only a small percentage of gamblers become problem gamblers, not a small percentage of the population, but only a small percentage of gamblers.

In addition, Goodlatte would have you believe that Internet gambling is more addictive than casino gambling. Sen. Kyl has gone so far as to call online gambling “the crack cocaine of gambling”, attributing the quote to some un-named researcher. To the contrary, researchers have shown that gambling on the Internet is no more addictive than gambling in a casino. As a matter of fact, electronic gambling machines, found in casinos and race tracks all over the country are more addictive than online gambling.

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