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Standing Up For Online Gambling
Kudos to Simon Collins, a director of the online gambling company Cashcade, who this week did something constructive on perceptions of the industry in an op-ed article for The Independent newspaper in the UK.
In the piece, Collins pays tribute to the online gambling regulatory framework set up by the UK government, which he says many other countries now seek to emulate.
"The online gambling industry has no shortage of detractors," Collins writes. "If you believe the press, our fledgling sector is responsible for almost everything wrong in the UK. From marital breakdown and money laundering, to addiction and moral bankruptcy.
"Not surprisingly, the reality is very different. The UK market is, in fact, the most tightly and effectively regulated in the world. The Gambling Act of 2005, overseen by the draconian Gambling Commission, has ensured that only responsible, professional companies are able to operate.
"Just compare this to the US, where a prohibition-style offensive on all online gambling has forced American citizens into the arms of "illegal" operators. These operators may well be nice guys running perfectly reasonable odds and fair games. However, the US Department of Justice views any company taking US play as criminal," he writes.
Collins goes on to opine that at least partly as a result of New Labour's progressive regulation, Britain has become the world centre of a thriving, technologically advanced, twenty-first century business.
"Over the past few years, our industry has created plenty of opportunity for individuals and businesses on these shores. For instance, online bingo companies, just one part of the overall industry, spent over GBP 7 million on UK TV advertising in 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research. Or take the many online moderators we employ at Cashcade to help ensure standards of behaviour in our big games, Foxy Bingo, Getminted and Cheeky Bingo. Many of whom are working part-time and enjoy having a flexible, web-based job," he continues.
Collins is not entirely complimentary - he is critical of the 15 percent online gambling tax introduced by the British government, which he says has led to fewer funds arriving in the Treasury’s coffers, because most of the industry moved to nearby countries such as Malta.
"The Internet has thrown up complex difficulties in almost every walk of business, not least the gambling industry," Collins writes. "But the UK Government was the first to tackle these issues head on. And now the rest of the world is following its lead. Spain, Italy, France and even President Obama all seem to be preparing regulation designed to entice online gambling operators to their countries.
"So for once let's be pleased we were the first to get something right here in the UK," he concludes.
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