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EGBA Busts Online Gambling Myths

By: Shirley Spicer, Friday June 24th 2011
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) was launched in 2007 as a non-profit association of leading members of the online gambling industry. Its objective is to create a uniform online gambling sector in Europe in which private operators can offer competitive services across national borders. In this endeavor EGBA is meeting with resistance from European governments that intend to monopolize or ban online gambling. These governments offer the reasoning that online gambling is a social evil or will become one if allowed to be offered by agents that are not under direct government control. In order to counter these arguments, EGBA has created a "Myth-busting" page at its web site where it debunks many of the common myths.

One of the key allegations against online gambling is that it fosters problem gambling by making it easier for persons to wager more than they can afford. EGBA has in the first instance denied the allegation by referring to several credible studies that demonstrate that problem gambling incidence has remained stable over the last decade at about 1% despite the development of online gaming. EGBA adds that licensed online casino operators actively promote responsible gaming to protect vulnerable customers. They provide customers with access to a number of tools, such as self check tests, deposit limits, cool off periods and self-exclusion options. Reputed online casino operators also partner with problem gambling alleviation agencies so that anyone who needs to can avail of immediate assistance.

Another myth propagated by some governments is that state monopoly sites are more responsible than private licensed operators and offer better protection to players. In this connection EGBA refers to a fact based benchmarking study carried out by eCOGRA in 2008, which shows that licensed private operators are ahead in the implementation of responsible and fair gambling standards. Another argument put in favor of state owned monopolies is that they offer a lower payback ratio, which discourages excessive gambling and is therefore beneficial. EGBA counters that this is a ploy to cover the inefficiencies of the state owned monopolies. By preventing private online casino operators to offer more competitive services, governments are ensuring that their own operators remain milch cows.

When all else fails, the bogey of money laundering is raised. It is alleged that online gambling operations are easy targets for terrorists and others who want to transfer unaccounted funds for nefarious activities. This was the rationale of passing the UIGEA in the United States. EGBA argues that money trails in the online gambling industry are transparent and fully traceable. The financial transactions take place through highly regulated financial organizations. Persons engaged in money laundering find several offline routes more attractive.

The myth-busting page of the EGBA web site discusses other issues like fraud, taxation, underage gambling and impact on land based gambling as well.

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