IAG DECEMBER 2016 WEB - page 31

andthe law
“Manyof theso-called
these looka lot like
traditional casino
a lotmore interesting
and funtoplay.”
agents. Although the defendant was
enjoined from marketing in Missouri, and
from representing that itsserviceswere legal
in that state, it continued to take wagers
from Missouri. The defendant’s President
was ordered extradited toMissouri to stand
trial but rather than face a possible prison
sentence, he pleaded guilty to a criminal
indictment that he had “travelled to”
Missouri, through themagic of the internet,
and “set up” a “gambling device.” The
gamblingdevicewas theundercover agent’s
personal computer.
The lesson is not that internet gambling
is a slot machine. The real lesson is that if
you have agreed and even been enjoined
from not taking bets from a jurisdiction,
don’t take bets from that jurisdiction.
Inventions are increasingly intrusive.
Boorstin uses recorded music, which
seems to be unescapable. Cars and
television are dramatic examples, but so
are computerized games. Many of the so-
called social gamesoffer additional goodies
for players who are willing to spend small
amounts. Some of these look a lot like
traditional casino games; only they are a lot
more interesting and fun to play.
Technology becomes ever more
unintelligible to its users. Patrons really do
not carewhether their slotmachine is a true
There isno task that cannot bedonebya
more complicatedmachine. Themechanical
three-reel slot machine has been replaced.
But evenbingo today is not playedonlywith
hand-drawnnumberedballsandpaper cards
Inventions cannot be uninvented. The
law can react, after the fact, to unexpected
developments, but if the demand has been
created, technology will eventually findways
of getting around the legal barriers.
Will the law be able to cope? Law
constantly has to adjust to technological
developments in gambling, designing
newmeans of control. As Boorstin put it,
“For us invention has become themother
of necessity.”
So what will the future forms of
gambling be like? The immediate future
is more computerized games played
on monitors. The internet and mobile
phones will not be replaced any time
soon. Players have shorter and shorter
attention spans and want convenience,
so remote wagering will thrive, once
suppliers and operators develop games
that are as appealing as Angry Birds and
Candy Crush. Regulators will have such
a hard time keeping up that independent
labs will grow evenmore important.
In the intermediate and long term,
we cannot know what inventions will
revolutionize our lives, let alone the
unexpected consequences they will have
on legal gaming. But there are clues. Look
at what becomes popular for non-gambling
games and other forms of entertainment. If
the technology catchesonandbecomes less
expensive, virtual casinosmay become truly
going beyond 3D into extra dimensions of
experience –not onlymotion simulators but
alsoheadsetswhichallowaudiences tohave
360 degree views of the artificial world they
have entered.
What will the games themselves look
like? We know what succeeds with casino
gamblers. The game must be easy to
learn with a small house advantage or
fee. Frequent, small prizes act as positive
reinforcement, but there should be the
possibility of a very large jackpot. Playmust
be fast, but not too fast to follow. And the
most successful games have at least the
illusionof skill.
The 19th century games offered by 21st
centurycasinoswillcontinue toexist forolder
players, and for younger ones, if modern
versions can be developed. But the casino
of the future will not have paper playing
cards or wooden roulette wheels. Those
ancient inventions will become as scarce as
mechanical three-reel slotmachines.
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