Significant Research, Significant StatsPublished November 6, 2007 by OCR Editor
Finally, what America was missing: serious research into online gambling. Thank you, Annenberg Public Policy Center for your National Annenberg Survey of Youth.
For over a year now, US lawmakers have based their policy on conservative, partisan, even stubborn politics. Naturally this refers to the Republican Party, with Senator Jon Kyl (Arizona) at the helm. Kyl, along with the Las Vegas lobby, has led the gambling industry to its current state, namely the ban on internet gaming.
But this criticism goes for both sides of the coin. Partisan politics are such only if two polar opinions exist. The truth is that neither side has brought any contribution, such that is based on facts, to the table. Emotions and ideology, possibly verging on predilection and even self-interest have ruled the discourse.
Now, perhaps a little too late, research is being conducted by legitimate institutions, into the effect of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Policy should be based on such data, which evaluates in scientific terms the state of the industry.
The Annenberg Survey
Researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania have conducted research into the state of gambling among college age Americans.
College students have been a large group among online
gamblers. The reasons are many and were discussed often, on this site too, and
- Leisure time between classes
- Remoteness from home
- Internet savvy
- Accessible internet everywhere on campus
- Legitimacy among fellow students
- Gambling viewed as part time income source, and
- Available funds (from parents, loans)
The current law, which reduces accessibility and availability of online casino sites, by stopping credit-card payments to off-shore gambling sites, has brought to a decline in gambling among the youth.
The percent of gamblers among college students has fallen from 5.8 percent to 1.5 percent since the law went into effect, in a year's time.
Unfortunately, the Annenberg research is not the only one talked about around the industry. Focus on the Family Action, a gambling research and policy group, has commented on the stats, praising the law for reducing the "accessibility and availability of gambling to people who might not otherwise gamble."
Sure, online gambling has peaked for now, and the college age gamblers decline is a good example for this passing fad. The law does work. But long term results cannot be measured at the moment, and it is yet to be seen if this persists.