Betting and casino games are popular activities around the world, and have been for hundreds of years. The attitude that individuals have towards gambling seems quite consistent; most people enjoy it and do it safely. What seems to differ quite a lot is the relationship that different countries have with the practice, and the regulations and laws that they put in place to control it.
Countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada are very liberal in their gambling laws; China and many other nations are not. For the most part, even when online gambling is illegal within certain borders the law is not enforced for citizens who choose offshore gambling sites. They have no recourse in their own countries, but as long as they are playing with operators who are regulated by internationally recognised bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, they can trust that they’ll be looked after.
With so many top-quality regulated online casino and betting sites for adults of legal age, the problem doesn’t really lie in this area. Far more common are various forms of illegal land-based gambling, and gambling among children. We’re taking a look at why these activities are so common.
Unregulated Gambling Appeals on Many Levels
Illegal gambling is practiced for several different reasons. Where most or all forms of betting are outlawed, it can be the only option. In China, for example, Scratchcards, Keno and certain sports bets are the only gambling activities allowed by law. Since the Chinese population truly loves gambling in every format, this has led not only to a lot of Chinese traffic on offshore gambling sites, but also to betting parlours hidden behind barber and foot-massage signs.
Unlicensed gambling outfits also, by their very nature, need to be extremely discreet. For countries where casinos and sports betting are socially judged this can be very appealing to those who want to keep the respect of their neighbours, especially when online casinos and sportsbooks are illegal. A related, less savoury reason for appreciating this secretiveness is that, with most wagers placed and paid with cash, taxes on wins are far easier to avoid.
The thrill of doing something illegal should also not be ignored. Gamblers are, by nature, a risk-taking group; adding the excitement of breaking the law to proceedings may only make them more tempted to play. Even when an online casino or bookie is available, with excellent deals, this allure can prove too much.
The Risks of Illegal Gambling
The biggest concern with illegal gambling outfits is that they won’t treat you properly, and that there will be no action that you can take when this happens. From refusing to pay out when you win, to allowing you to bet what you can’t afford and then using violence and intimidation to demand it, unregulated operators essentially do whatever they like.
Sportsbooks may also be involved in match fixing; paying to ensure the specific outcome of an event, and then influencing the odds that they offer to maximise their profits. Once again, regulated outfits are not able to do this. The biggest concern here is that people who are experiencing problem gambling behaviour get into trouble rather than getting the help that they need, as they would legally be required to at above-board establishments.
Skin Gambling: Are the Kids Alright?
A growing concern is skin gambling in online video games, cracked down on by many industry leaders but definitely still happening. In skin gambling, virtual goods within the video games are used almost as casino chips, to bet on the outcome of eSports events. As the popularity of both eSports and video games continues to grow, this is becoming an increasing concern.
The skins, or virtual goods, have been available as in-app purchases for some time. While this began innocently enough, the way these purchases are now presented as loot boxes has drawn some serious criticism for planting the seeds for later problem gambling in children. With skin gambling gathering such momentum, these concerns could well be founded. Whatever other issues gambling debates raise, most people can agree that 11 years old is too young to be doing it – which is how old the youngest skin gamblers are.