Online betting has become such an established practice that one wonders how we ever coped without it. It has revolutionised gambling and altered it forever. Now it really is accessible to everyone, everywhere seven days of the week.
This is in fact of the biggest concerns when looking at the social impact of online betting. In fairness to the companies involved in online betting, they do try and curb abuse as best they can, or do they?
Age verification is a major problem because most teenagers have either figured how to get around it, or knows someone who does. Parents are expected to implement controls in the home regarding access to the internet, but we live in a time where school assignments take for granted that people have access to the net. Added to this is the fact that most computer literate teenagers know more about IT than their parents.
One of the things that is truly, cynically laughable about online betting is the “warning” at the bottom of the page that cautions you against gambling abuse and irresponsibility. The very nature of gambling is irresponsible. Einstein showed that the only game in a casino where you had an even (not good) chance is Blackjack and let be realistic: anyone suffering from a gambling addiction is hardly going heed the caution, written in small letters, at the bottom of the page when it is competing against more colour and sound than a merry-go-round.
While it is not fair to only focus on the negative side of online betting, it is hard to find too many positives. One has to acknowledge the technical genius that makes it all feasible and user friendly. Ask yourself: how would online betting perform in an honest social cost/ social benefit analysis? We all know the answer yet our behaviour reflects something different. As people we are attracted to various behaviours that often are hard to understand yet they more than persist, they flourish.
Hence, we live in an age that says: “give them what they want” and this is clearly what we want.