The Ethics of Online Gambling: Should It Be Regulated and Why?

Players are increasingly embracing gambling online as opposed to visiting in-person gaming facilities, as there are several advantages to placing bets without having physical restrictions. For instance, ICE Casino members can relish their favorite gamblings in the comfort of their couches at home or on the go via mobile devices.

The convenience, privacy, and ease of access that iGaming platforms provide led to the industry’s explosion in the past two decades – more so during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. In some parts, the growth has been facilitated by the modification, cancellation, and introduction of different online gambling legislation.

Overall, the effect has been an increase in the number of bettors who prefer internet gambling and, of course, the volume of service providers serving the expanded market. So, as the industry continues with its flourishing curve, join us today as we dig deeper into why iGaming must be regulated across different countries, states, and provinces worldwide.

Player Protection

Above anything else, protecting vulnerable players is the primary reason why iGaming  should be regulated. The effects of an unregulated market have proven to be far-reaching, as governments cannot control what they have no jurisdictional mandate over.

Some of the regulations passed in jurisdictions around the world require operators to put up measures that will track potential harmful gambling behavior by players and act appropriately. Additionally, regulation prevents vices like underage players or targeting gamblers who have a problem gambling habit. Some of the player protection measures that are possible because of a regulated industry include:

  • Self-exclusion;
  • Identity verification;
  • Affordability checks for players;
  • Fining and blacklisting regulatory offenders;
  • Ethical advertising standards by operators;
  • Tight security measures against cybercrime;
  • Mediation and dispute resolution between players and operators;
  • Funding rehabilitation projects and educational initiatives on responsible gambling.

Looking at offshore online casinos on the flip side, they are a wild card since they are not subject to the regulations of the countries they operate. In such platforms, players run the risk of suffering gambling harm or losing their money when these offshore establishments turn out to be rogue.

Revenue Generation and Employment

Part of the reason many jurisdictions that have opted to regulate online gambling have done so on the basis that their residents would resort to illegal offshore gambling. If not going for the black market, online gaming fans will simply cross borders to jurisdictions where it has been regulated.

Thus, since the industry keeps generating income, whether regulated or not, jurisdictions are better off regulating the sector and channeling the tax proceeds into worthwhile community projects. If there’s no avenue to regulate the activity locally, tons of revenue will be lost as the residents will spend their funds elsewhere. So, instead of simply throwing the baby out with the bathwater, local governments can use the tax proceeds to develop community projects in industries such as education and public housing.

Apart from the enormous revenue to be expected from an industry that is still expanding, regulating online gambling creates jobs for residents of jurisdictions with a regulated market.

Keeping the Black-market at Bay

With the increasing demand for online gambling, illegal offshore operators have also switched to high gear to try and channel the growing business. Thus, there has been a surge in the number of offshore online casinos to a point where its black market is now worth billions of dollars. So, the premise is that even when iGaming is banned, punters will still find a way to bet by going to unregulated offshore platforms. Instead, a regulated industry ensures that operators abide by specific rules that benefit the players and the economy.

Fighting Crime

Like in land-based gaming houses, criminal activity has for a long time been associated with unregulated online gambling. This is because funds processed on unregulated sites have been known to be used to sponsor felonies like organized crime, human trafficking, illegal arms deals, and money laundering.

In a regulated iGaming environment, there are limits to how much money can be moved to and from an operator’s site without going through verification checks. For instance, all licensed internet casinos are bound by strict anti-money laundering codes of conduct to ensure that all transactions they process are lawful. Therefore, it becomes virtually impossible for criminal activity to be conducted on the platforms unnoticed.

Regulation Is the Way to Go

In past decades when online gambling was a novel concept, most governments ignored the topic altogether, and understandably so since there was little knowledge of it. However, times have changed, and there is a lot of information on the subject which can be a guiding compass for jurisdictions interested in regulating the activity.

Whichever way you look at it, an effectively regulated industry opens the door for dialogue that presents a win-win situation for everyone involved. Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, outright online gambling bans end up opening the floodgates of the black market and its associated risks.