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July2016
4
EDITORIAL
BenBlaschke
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Navigating the regulationminefield
I
recently read an article in
TheWashington Post
, written by none other than
renownedpokercommentatorNormanChad, inwhichhestates,“Weshould
have the freedom togamblemore and the common sense togamble less.”
His observation got me thinking not only about the state of gaming
legislation in various jurisdictions around theworldbut also themanner inwhich
it is reportedby certainmedia.
Of course, I agree 100%withChad. In amodern, civilizedworld the common
sense approach to most recognized forms of gambling – for a multitude of
reasonsnotonly restricted tosecurityand taxation– is tohave them legalizedand
regulated. Likewise, it is vital that any jurisdiction in which gambling is offered
puts sufficient resources towards combatting the scourgeof problemgambling.
But the reality is that, in many cases, it can be very difficult to have a
balanced conversation.
I say this havingwitnessednumerous examples of it in recent times. After all,
not all jurisdictionsareas liberal in regards togamingasMacau (andevenMacau
has someprogress tomake in areas such as sports betting).
That much is evident in countries like Japan, Thailand, India and of
course mainland China where gambling is either highly restricted in nature
or banned altogether.
In these very pages, IAG’s Editor at LargeMuhammad Cohen explores the
topic of Asian casino operators investing in Europe – noting along the way
that, “Despite Europe’s proliferation of betting opportunities, there’s still a
cultural stigma against casinos.” Thismakes it difficult for them tomaximize
market opportunities.
Elsewhere in the world, the United States is discovering just how many
barriersstill need tobebrokendown inorder toexpand theonlinepoker andDaily
Fantasy Sports industries. It is now five years since theUSDepartment of Justice
essentially shutdown all online poker operations across the nation yet to this day
only three states have re-opened the door, having formally recognized that poker
is, in fact, a gameof skill.
As for thenation Igrewup in,Australia, the resultof the recentFederalElection
was far fromencouraging for thosedesperate tosee theoutdated2001 Interactive
GamblingAct brought into themodernworld.
As it stands, thebalanceof power in theAustralianSenatewill now likely fall to
a select group of independents, led by renowned anti-gambling campaigner and
localmediadarlingNickXenophon.
Instances suchas thesemakeanymeaningful discussionongambling reform
extremely difficult – a problem compounded by sections of the media either
unwillingor unable topaint the gaming industry in anythingbut anegative light.
In the end it comes down to patience. Given that gambling has been around
for centuriesandshowsnosignsof abating, time isat least one factor thegaming
industry
does
haveon its side.
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