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Online betting or internet gambling is a term referring to gambling using the internet. With the improvement in technology, the gambling industry has changed and become one of the most lucrative businesses (Gainsbury, Russell, & Hing, 2015). A wide range of gambling options attracts a huge amount of people. In Singapore, the two lottery operators- Singapore Pools and Turf Club were prevented from offering online gambling options. However, the persuasive usage of the internet, it was reported these two operators may be given a green signal to run online betting platforms (The Straits Times, 2016). This essay aims to present both opinions as to why the government must allow or disallow the two lottery operators to offer online betting.
Although there are many debates regarding implementing laws to ban online gambling, many people raise the concern if it needs to be regulated. If the government allows Singapore Pools and Turf Club to offer online betting, several issues may surround the Singaporean government (The Straits Times, 2016). One of the common issues in online gambling is that the age of gamblers cannot be known. Therefore, there is a high moral risk where the underage kids are exposed to online gambling. Moreover, there is a risk of addiction leading to social issue. According to the statistics presented by the Ministry of Home Affairs survey of Singapore in 2013, at least three out of 10 internet users had gambled online for at least once in a year (Thecabinsingapore.com.sg, 2017). Therefore, there is a risk of increased addiction of gambling among people as internet is easily accessible to people at home without having the need to go anywhere. Another ethical issue is fraud as the internet gamblers cannot e assured of the legitimacy of the games. There are some websites that take people’s credit card numbers without having proper security for it. Therefore, there is a high risk of fraudsters cheating and stealing people’s money online. A political concern raised in online gambling is missing out on taxes as the online gamblers are not necessarily taxed. Therefore, there is a decrease in revenue that makes leaves an economic impact on the government revenue (Gainsbury, Russell, & Blaszczynski, 2014).
The government must uphold its decision to allow the Singapore Pools and Turf Club to offer online betting. It is argued that online gambling is one of the most harmless and entertaining activities. A small amount of population suffers from problem gambling as illegal gambling does not stop any individual from what they want to do. Abdullah (2016) argues that the illegal online betting shall not eradicate any issue. The government may close down certain sites but there are always new sites coming up. Therefore, legalizing it in Singapore and allowing the two operators to offer online betting can help offer safety measures for keeping problem gambling in check. Moreover, when the business activity is legalized, the security of the sites shall be increased by the regulators leading to less fraudster activities (Dragicevic, Percy, & Parke, 2013). Legalized gambling shall increase the responsibility of the individuals and state who suffer from problem gambling. Also, the people who are illegally struggling into gambling may require proper counselling. Therefore, legalizing it may help the online gamblers come out in the open so that they can talk about problems and seek support (Laffey, Della, & Laffey, 2015).
In the United States, there is no federal law against gambling online that makes it easy for the gamblers to access internet anywhere and place their bets (Koprowski, 2014). Also, in India, the online gambling market growth increased the state revenues. Other countries such as Great Britain and Italy have new sources of tax revenue leading to economy growth (Onlinecasino.in, 2017). Regulation of online betting shall create jobs that would take off pressure from social security budgets. According to the Irish Times report, a research conducted in Ireland, regulated gambling could create as many as 13,000 jobs in a country with a population of 4.5 million (Onlinecasino.in, 2017). Further, foreign investment can be brought in where any foreign investor can gamble online. Therefore, escaping from the perils of an unregulated online gambling market, the Singaporean government must legalize and uphold its decision to allow the Singapore Pools and Turf Club to offer online betting (Abdullah, 2016).
However, certain arguments can be made where the government’s decision to allow the two lottery operators to offer online betting must be upheld. It is argued that online betting gives rise to several moral, ethical and social issues. According to Huiwen (2016), the consumers and social workers have expressed concern about increasing addiction of gambling, especially among the youth. Gambling is an addictive activity and internet makes it convenient for the people to place bets. As the bets can be made online without having the need to go anywhere, the frequency of gambling is more likely to increase. As added by a counsellor Deborah Queek, the younger generation lack self-discipline that makes gambling addiction more harmful (Huiwen, 2016). Moreover, there is increased risk of people going online to bet and being cheated by fraudsters as the fake websites are created (LaPlante, Nelson, & Gray, 2014).
People generally don’t embezzle from their employer, commit suicide or murder over a lost tennis game, though they do over their gambling losses. According to Rychlikova (2014), Royston Spearman cheated and duped people and made £180,000 in four years using several aliases and 26 bank accounts. Avoiding the temptation with online betting is more difficult as virtual casino can be accessed at work, home or anywhere else. Access to a person’s bank account is only a click away where impulse betting is more common. It may be difficult to determine who is running an online casino and the most common trick used by the scammers is offering a "free-to-play" version (Gainsbury et al., 2014). Also, online gamblers may practice deceptive strategies where the online poker players belong to the same physical location. They may share information of the cards with each other that gives them an advantage over other players. Therefore, Singapore shall have social pathologies to worry about after unleashing online gambling as legal. The traditional casinos can have a check on Ids and keeps the minors out. Therefore, online gambling could be a very bad bet and Singapore government must not legalize it (Lopez-Gonzalez, & Griffiths, 2016).
There is debate and discussion going on if the Singapore government must uphold its decision to allow the two lottery operators to offer online betting services. Hence, based on the above arguments and discussion, the Singapore government must uphold its decision to allow the two lottery operators- Singapore Pools and Turf Club to offer online betting. The social costs of gambling outweigh the benefits. From the above discussion, it is evident that apart from another form of electronic recreation, online gambling has not other significant benefits. The real issues such as risk of fraudsters, problem gambling, privacy concerns, under age exposure to gambling, real crimes and suicides outweigh the benefits. Legalized gambling shall increase the responsibility of the individuals and state who suffer from problem gambling. However, avoiding the temptation with online betting is more difficult as virtual casino can be accessed at work, home or anywhere else. Therefore, Singapore government must not legalize online betting. Agreeably, the people will not stop and new websites shall be created but they can raise awareness about the ill effects of gambling.
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