Regulation Would Benefit Players and Government, Say Experts

Recent actions by the US government have caused several internet bingo operators to cease operations in the United States. During the first half of 2011 two major online payment processors were forced to exit the US gaming market. Once again American bingo players will be forced to resort of less than reliable deposit and withdrawal methods and a few of the sites still accepting American players are less than reputable. For years several representatives in congress have called on fellow legislators to pass legislation designed to tax and regulate the online gaming industry. They have pointed out that the US is missing out on billions in potential tax revenues. It would be a relatively easy matter to set up regulatory bodies to oversee the gaming industry.

In the UK the Gambling Act of 2005 created the Gambling Commission in the United Kingdom. The stated purposes of the Gambling Act of 2005 are;
1.    preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
2.    ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and
3.    protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling

The Gambling Commission has implemented strict rules that apply to all internet bingo sites doing business in the UK. In addition to bingo sites located in the UK the Gambling Commission maintains a ‘white list’ of approved licensing jurisdictions. Approved jurisdictions must meet certain standards and bingo sites licensed in these jurisdictions are allowed to advertise in the UK.

The regulations have worked well and give players a level of protection not enjoyed by American players. Since it is forbidden for credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions to process gambling related transactions American players have little or no recourse in settling disputes with gaming companies. In the UK and Europe players are assured of fair games and can take their complaints and disputes to government agencies and regulatory bodies. Put simply, the British system of regulation has been beneficial for both players and bingo operators. Players are assured that all games are fair and aboveboard and operators benefit from player confidence.

The United States would do well to take a look at the UK Gambling Commission and how it operates. The Gambling Commission has addressed just about any problem and also provides information about gambling addiction and where players can go to get help. A similar system in the United States would be beneficial to both government and players.