Online Gambling Sheds Negative Stigma

One tactic of those opposed to online gambling on ‘moral’ grounds is to attach a negative stigma to the activity. Although the online gaming industry has matured past bad behavior by some in the industry has lent credence to some objections. Online gambling critics do not believe that self-regulation by the industry is desirable. There are a few online gambling licensing jurisdictions that lack oversight such as Costa Rica and Curacao. In Costa Rica there is no such thing as an interactive gaming license and gambling sites that claim to be licensed in Costa Rica usually have a business ‘license.’

In Britain there is little stigma associated with online gambling. The UK has one of the most regulated online gaming markets in the world. Two of the most popular forms of internet gambling are sports betting and internet bingo.  Constance Chapple, a sociologist at the University of Nebraska, said “Although gambling has largely maintained its deviant reputation, bingo, as a form of gambling, remains untainted by labels of deviance.” She argues that society perceives bingo as a socially acceptable form of gambling. Bingo has escaped the stigma associated with casino gambling. The 2012 British Gambling Prevalence Survey showed that most respondents did not view the national lottery or bingo as true gambling activities.

Bingo’s reputation as a popular gaming activity stems from the game’s social aspect. In fact many bingo players see bingo as primarily a social activity played by middle and senior women. The introduction of the national lottery in 1994 had two major effects. It made gambling seem more socially acceptable and helped to de-masculinize gambling in Britain. Today, thanks to mobile gambling applications, women account for over half of all the online gamblers in the UK. Before 2000 research showed that most bingo players were working class women who viewed bingo as an opportunity to socialize with friends and enjoy a pleasant evening out.

Gambling opponents say that online gambling causes more gambling ‘addiction.’ Unfortunately for opponents most studies show the opposite. In addition most internet bingo and casino sites give players the ability to set spending limits and most have a self-exclusion program of some sort. Most online gaming operators use sophisticated software to detect problem gamblers. Internet bingo is inexpensive and because of the low stakes involved the game would not be attractive to problem gamblers. Thanks to a regulated market the online gaming industry has achieved a well-deserved reputation for fair play in the UK.