Ran across this beauty the other day and I couldn’t help but tear it apart.

“Lawless” Internet proving costly for gamblers By Kate Holton
Wed May 24, 8:01 AM ET

Scary headline that grabs people’s attention? Check.

LONDON (Reuters) – The Internet is a “lawless land,” easily accessed 24 hours a day without stepping out of the house, and for gamblers that can be a costly and irresistible temptation.

People are driving right up to teh interwebs and gambling. Oh no!! I’m not sure why journalists can’t seem to grasp the concept that the internet is simply a medium. Cars make betting easier since you don’t have to walk to the casino.

Saying the internet is lawless is like saying that telephones are lawless. What’s to stop people from talking about illegal things on their telephones? The medium by which an illegal act takes place should be, for the most part, irrelevant. If society feels that a 50 year old man chatting with 14 year old girls is wrong then they can put in place laws making that interaction illegal. Whether the 50 year old man calls, writes a postal letter, or skywrites his illegal messages is completely pointless to the intent fo the law.

A recent study published in Britain suggested almost three quarters of the population engage in some form of gambling at some point during the year, handing the gaming industry an annual turnover of 53 billion pounds ($99.38 billion).

I think that’s pretty strong evidence that you’re never going to prevent people from doing it.

The biggest growth area in gambling is online, through the Internet’s estimated 2,300 gaming sites, which generate around $12 billion a year.

For those of you not yet wise to the ways of the media, notice how the journalist attempts to make online gambling sound like a bigger issue than it is. Specifically it is said that online is the biggest “growth” area of gambling. That would likely be because gambling has been around since the dawn of man which makes it a pretty mature market and online gambling is brand spanking new so the percentage gains are always going to appear to be more impressive. So, what the author really is saying is that online gaming makes up about 12% of all gaming which would make it a relatively minor player in the bigger gaming industry. Now, I personally believe that online gaming will continue to capture a larger and larger share of the the gaming pie but until Steve Wynn owns every man, woman, and child in the world, I’m going to speculate that gaming as a general category has some finite limits.

The Internet is also helping fuel a substantial rise in gambling addiction.

“You can basically do it from your home or your work place, and you can gamble for 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days of the year,” Mark Griffiths, a professor of gambling, told Reuters in an interview.

“If you are a vulnerable individual, the ease of online gambling — the instant access and convenience of use — is likely to fuel those addictive tendencies you have already.”

And if you’re an alcoholic, having 7-11’s could fuel your addictive tendencies as well.

The government says 0.8 percent of the population have some sort of addiction to gambling.

WTF?!? Less than 1% of the population has a gambling problem and they’re referring to it like it’s the next bird flu? And earlier in the article the author states that they estimate that 75% of the population has placed a wager of some sort this year. So, 75% of the population is doing it and less than 1% have a gambling problem. This is a problem to get all worked up over?

But sophisticated new software can be used to spot the unusual betting patterns of gambling addicts, says eCOGRA, an online gaming auditor set up by firms like 888 Plc, Ongame and software maker Microgaming.

“There are self-exclusion buttons the players can hit, and operators will sometimes contact players to suggest a cooling-off period,” said an eCOGRA spokesman.

I always love these sorts of nonesense facts being strung together. So, sophisticated software detects unusual better patterns (watch out Gus Hansen) and this sophisticated software consists of a button that people can hit to exclude themselves from gambling? I think I understand what the author was going for here but since these were good things the industry is doing the author couldn’t spend the 10 seconds it would have taken to make the ideas comprehensible.

MASSIVE DEBTS

GamCare, a charity for gambling addicts, said those who contacted them had average debts of over 25,000 pounds, and just under 5 percent of callers had run up debts of over 100,000 pounds.

In Britain, the government has created the independent Gambling Commission, which from 2007 will regulate the British companies who run gaming sites.

Under the new Gambling Commission rules, gambling Web sites will have to train employees to spot possible problem gamblers and offer help and advice on their sites.

Online operators must also make sure customers are aware of how much time and money they have spent.

So, problem gamblers can’t control themselves. The casinos are willing to take on the burden in order to get a crack at the other 99% of the population who doesn’t have a problem. That’s a bit of a no-brainer.

But with most companies operating from offshore jurisdictions like Gibraltar, Cyprus, Antigua and Costa Rica, complete regulation is impossible.

“It’s basically a lawless land,” Gamcare’s Teresa Tunstall told Reuters. “We urge betters to use regulated and well known Web sites.”

Yes, it’s the lawless land of the internet. Of course, PartyPoker is based in Gibraltar. Many of the largest online casinos are based in exactly the countries being called lawless. Party even trades on the London stock exchange.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes says that while it is too early to decide whether to bring its online gaming operations onshore, it is keen to see UK gambling regulation extending as far as possible.

Analysts and GamCare say the circumstances of online gambling — the speed with which people can bet and its solitary nature — removes a layer of protection that is present in betting shops and casinos.

“How does anyone operating an online gambling site know if a player has learning disabilities?” said professor Griffiths.

“How do they know if the player has had too much to drink or taken drugs? The point is that they don’t.

“Even if one online site is responsible and says we’re not going to have that problem gambler, you are just a click away from finding another online betting site that isn’t.”

I’m sorry. I can’t quit laughing. Are we supposed to hook people up to an IQ meter before we let them gamble? This is such a self-serving load of crap. I mean, this story says nothing about the biggest scam in gambling being run; the lotto. They place no limit on people with learning disabilities buying lotto tickets. Anybody, no matter how drunk or stoned they are, can purchase a lotto ticket. Hell, they sell them in liquor stores!! But you would never see the government attempt to put limits on lotto because they benefit from the lotto. You turn the situation around where the government isn’t getting some juice and all of a sudden it becomes you caring guardian who needs to protect you from those evil, offshore bastads who take money from retards and drunks.