There has been continuous criticism in the last few months about gambling companies opening themselves to underage and problem gamblers but actually all online gambling companies do their best to avoid both of these issues but of course anyone who is determined enough will be able to circumvent the system. At a land based casino it is very easy to ask someone for proof of age before entering which if a driving license or passport is presented is good enough but anybody who has been a student well knows that ID cards are easily obtained with false birth dates. When it comes to problem gamblers life is much harder as there are people who gamble every day at a casino or an online casino for that matter but never have an issue. They win, they lose and life goes on as before because all the time they are playing with money that they can afford which might well be quite a lot. On the other hand there are problem gamblers who have very little and gamble very little and not frequently either but they cannot afford to lose and if they do it spells trouble. An online casino can only see the amounts being played for and the frequency but this is not indicative of whether that is a problem for the individual concerned. Online casinos and all other forms of online gambling therefore rely on self exclusion where the players themselves decide that they have had enough.
Self exclusion is only one method of restricting online gambling as there are other ways an individual can tackle it by limiting for example the amount which can be deposited in any given time frame or in the case of online casino gambling limiting the stakes or losses that can be tolerated in a given time period. Some online casinos have been criticised however for some of the casino slots which they have on their sites which have characters which are supposedly attractive to children. These are often offered in free play mode so there is not any actual gambling taking place and indeed the casino would most likely be able to stop that child from opening an account to enable real money play. The criticism still comes from some quarters who claim that this is teaching children to gamble which may become a problem later in life. Free casino play was of course never designed to be used as such but more for players to able to try and experiment with new casino games without risking their own cash. All Irish casino for example makes all its casino games available for free and for convenience there is no need to register an account. Gambling.ie thinks this is great and much better than some online casinos who hide free play away somewhere and demand that an account be registered before making them available.
Gambling online is not going to go away as it meets the demands of the modern player who likes the convenience of not having to visit a bookmaker and who likes the freedom of being able to place a bet where and when he or she likes which can be at home or in bar with friends or anywhere else for that matter. It looks likely that there will soon be restrictions on advertising which could affect a number of premiership football clubs if it extends to shirt sponsorship. There are a lot of these teams who have online gambling companies as sponsors and indeed there are several who we have never heard of in Ireland. Premiership football however is a world brand these days so many of these sponsorships may well be for the benefit of Asian customers where gambling is a way of life. Not so of course the huge number of adverts which we are face with during live sports events where it seems that every advert is for an online gambling company and they are certainly aimed at the Irish and UK market. This is quite the opposite to the USA for example where national online gambling is still illegal. There are certain states which have created online gambling sites mainly for poker although other casino games are available but you have to be resident in that state to have an account. This seems rather contradictory as the USA has the most popular gambling places in the world in Las Vegas and Atlantic City and many Indian reservations also run casinos but online gambling remains illegal. They also have some of the greatest horse racing in the world but gambling is not allowed.
The world is indeed full of anomalies. In China for example gambling is not allowed but almost every Chinese person living in Europe for example is and keen on gambling and the casinos are full of them. Presumable many also have accounts at online casinos but that information is not available. The Chinese also travel to Macau or Singapore in large numbers with the sole purpose of gambling. The Chinese Government is trying to crack down on this as they believe that these people are in fact money laundering to turn untaxed income into winnings which are tax free. China is of course not the only place where this happens and casinos everywhere have to be alert to stop this trade, even online casinos can be used for this purpose.
Fortunately in Ireland we have a very relaxed approach to gambling in general and online gambling in particular. There is no requirement for a license to be issued in Ireland for these online gambling companies as long as there is one issued by a European country. Many online gambling companies including our own Paddy Power have online licenses issued by countries such as Malta or Gibraltar and there is nothing wrong with that as those two in particular have become European centres for gambling online and indeed are dependent on it for much of their income and employment. In fact online gambling companies are probably the largest employers.