All Bets Are Off (Online Gambling 8 of 8)

Well, this is finally serial blog number 8. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented throughout the semester. As a form of recap, I made a questionnaire and asked several people who gamble online to fill it out. The 20 questions are below with each of their responses below the question. I promised the participants I would not reveal their names, so I will refer to each of them with a letter of the alphabet. After the questions, I will comment on what impressions I got from their responses and what I found interesting.

1. Have you ever gambled for money or made sports bets in a casino? If so, what games did you play?

A – Yes, Roulette, blackjack, and poker.

B – Blackjack, 3-Card Poker, Roulette, Texas Hold’em, Craps, Slots and Sports Betting.

C – Yes, Texas Hold ‘em.

D – Yes, Poker, Blackjack and slots.

E – Yes. Texas Hold’em Poker.

2. Have you ever gambled or made sports bets online? I so, what games did you play?

A – No

B – Blackjack, Texas Hold’em and Sports Betting

C – Yes, Texas Hold ‘em.

D – Yes, Poker and Blackjack.

E – Yes, Texas Hold’em Poker.

3. Have you ever gambled online for money? Why or why not?

A – No, I did not trust the companies and other players to be fair.

B – Yes, because I like to gamble and there are no other alternatives for where I live.

C – Yes.  The competition is better when money is on the line.

D – Yes, it’s cheaper and more convenient than going to a casino.

E – Yes, because I thought it would be fun since there were no casinos close to me and I thought I could make some money.

4. Have you ever played online poker? If so, which online provider did you play on?

A – Yes, I have used Full Tilt and others.

B – Yes, Full Tilt poker.

C – Yes, Full Tilt Poker.

D – Yes, Party Poker and Full Tilt Poker.

E – Yes, Full Tilt Poker.

5. Do you feel there is any difference between gambling in a casino versus gambling online?

A – Yes, in casinos you can see and interact better with other players. It is easier to tell the professional players from the casual players in a casino.

B – Yes, I’d much rather gamble in a casino.  Being in the casino is part of the experience.

C – Yes, human expression and bluffing are often lost during online play.

D – Yes, online is less personal and more suspect. It just seems shadier.

E – Very much so.

6. When was the last time you played online poker or gambled online?

A –5 years ago

B – Maybe 6 months ago.

C – Six months ago.

D – A few years ago.

E – 1-2 years.

7. How often would you say you play online poker or gamble online?

A – Rarely, less than 3 times a month

B – Before the Poker websites shut down a few months ago, I would gamble in spurts.  Play everyday for a few weeks, then go weeks or months without playing again.

C – Rarely.

D – I had phases. I would play every day and then not play at all for like 6 months.

E – Rarely.

8. Do you feel secure that online poker providers will take care of any money you deposit?

A – No

B – Not now after all the reports of Ponzi scheme things at Full Tilt.

C – Yes.

D – I did. Now I feel naïve.

E – Not anymore after the Full Tilt Poker scandal.

9. Does popular poker stars’ endorsement of online poker providers give you a greater sense of security in these poker providers? What is your reaction to a U.S. government claim that professional poker players Howard Lederer and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson have been given $38 million and $24 million respectively from Full Tilt Poker over the years?

A – No, their endorsement is not related to the policies of the providers.

B – I think I originally picked Full Tilt because of the amount of professional poker player’s endorsement.  I wouldn’t use Full Tilt anymore now though because of the scam they were involved in.

C – I feel that having professional backing does help fund better security.  Since poker is such an up and down game with some chance involved, I don’t have a problem with companies paying players a steady income.  However, the supposed earnings made by those players is too high.

D – Wow. That is a lot of money. It did add credibility to me though.

E – Yes. I am not surprised the got money, but I would like to know if they really approve the company.

 10. Do you consider poker a game of skill or a game of chance? Why do you feel this way?

A – Poker is a mixture of both. I have seen Amateurs with a lot of luck win big, and have seen Professionals without a lot of luck still win.

B – Absolutely…over the long run, it’s a game of skill.  There are a reason you see the same people playing on TV and the final table’s of tournaments.  Over a few hundred hands, luck plays a role, but a few thousand or hundred thousand, the skilled players will make the money.

C – I feel that poker is mostly skill that is why most of the same players make it to the final tables so often.  75% skill and 25% luck.

D – Both. There are definite elements of luck but skill is definitely involved as well.

E – Skill. Betting a certain way can lead people to think what type of hands you bet on. There is a reason the same poker players are always at the final table.

11. Critics of online gambling cite its potential to steal money, money launder, enable gambling addicts, and corrupt America’s youth. Do you believe any of these claims have merit? If so, what can be done to counter them?

A – The claims of stealing money and enable gambling addicts have validity. If the providers used a trusted source such as Paypal might lessen fear of stealing money. Enabling addicts is part of the business so I’m not sure how to fix that.

B – Certainly now I believe about the stealing and laundering more than I did before.  Addicts are going to take advantage of it like addicts of any vice do.  More people gamble responsibly than irresponsibly.  There are always going to be people that abuse something, we can’t get rid of it because a few people ruin it for everyone else.

C – Counters like having to be 18 would help; I’m sure you have to have a credit card, which is another buffer.  I don’t believe online gambling corrupts, however.

D – The theft and money laundering do seem to have merit. I can see criminals using the websites to move money.

E – All claims have some merit, but I believe it is up to the government to monitor all fund tracking and the addicts should be able to block gambling websites.

12. Are you familiar with the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)?

A – No.

B – Yes.

C – No.

D – No.

E – Not in detail.

13. The UIGEA was a last second addition to a U.S. port security and safety bill that made it illegal for money to be processed in relation to online gambling? Does knowing this change your thoughts or future habits concerning online gambling?

A – No, because I do not play online for money.

B – No.

C – No.

D – Sounds like Congress to me.

E – Yes.

14. The United States has filed charges of money laundering against PokerStars, Absolute Poker, and Full Tilt poker with claims that they lied and bribed banks in order to continuing operating in the United States after the passage of the UIGEA. How does this news affect you?

A – This does not surprise me.

B – Doesn’t really affect me.

C – I will pay very close attention to Terms of Service and my accounts when playing in the future.

D – Well depends on what kinds of money laundering it was. If it was gang related then shut them down, if it was just to stay operating then I do not know if the UIGEA was repealed if this action would continue.

E – It almost turns me completely off to online gambling.

15. Recently, the United States Department of Justice has claimed that Full Tilt Poker is an elaborate Ponzi scheme alleging that Full Tilt Poker has stolen over $300 million from players’ accounts. How does information affect you? Does it surprise you?

A – No, with the popularity of Full Tilt the amount stolen could have been higher.

B – I won’t use the website anymore and it does surprise me.

C – If true, this would make me second guess playing poker online.

D – Completely shocked. I had no idea. Shows I have not played in a while though.

E – Even though I used Full Tilt Poker, I was never affected by the scheme, but it definitely makes me more cautious and surprised that they would do something like this.

16. The islands of Antigua and Barbuda have brought lawsuits against the United States to the World Trade Organization (WTO) claiming the UIGEA violates global trade agreements. The WTO has ruled against the United States, but the United States has not complied with the WTO’s orders. With online gambling being a global market, does this stance by the United States surprise you? Anger you? What overall reaction do you have to this information?

A – America has passed and dealt with issues such as this before. Laws against pot or other drugs, alcohol, or prostitution are in America’s past and they were not protested by the world in this manner.

B – I think it’s wrong, but it doesn’t surprise me that US Government thinks it can do what it wants.  Those island countries though should have done a better job of regulating the companies, now I hope internet gambling doesn’t get hosted out of there anymore.

C – The US stance is not surprising, assuming we generate the most money from the enterprise.

D – That’s crap that the U.S. isn’t complying but not surprising.

E – I am surprised by the stand that the U.S. has made about the situation but I feel it was more so due to lack of judgment and poor decision making.

17. Do you feel online gambling should be legal? Why or why not?

A – I feel that if it was better regulated such as casinos are then it would be fine to be legal.

B – It should be legal.  I should be able to do almost anything out of my home that I want.

C – If it stays legal it should be closely controlled.

D – It should be legal in my opinion. It needs to be kept safe but I don’t think the arguments against it prove to be that it is best to make it illegal.

E – If monitored, I do feel like online gambling should be legal. Unfortunately, the government has not been as strict on the providers as to what their limitations and taxations need to be in my own opinion.

18. Many in Congress are trying to get the UIGEA repealed so that Congress could tax online gambling. If online gambling was taxed, would you still play?

A – If it were similar to the taxes on money won at a casino, then I would still play.

B – I would have no problem with a regulated, US based company paying taxes on Internet gambling.

C – If it is reasonable, then yes.

D – We should tax it. I am in favor it.

E – Possibly.

19. Do you think online gambling providers could regulate themselves or should the U.S. government be involved with granting online gambling licenses or other forms of regulation?

A – Just like casinos, a government or outside regulation firm is needed.

B – The US Government should regulate, or at least on the state level like state gaming commissions do.

C – They should be allowed to regulate themselves, as the Internet itself has no general owner either.

D – Now, it looks like they needed to be regulated by the government. It doesn’t seem like that can be trusted.

E – The government should definitely be involved with granting online licenses. I feel like this would actually create more success for the companies as the players would increase due to a heightened sense of security.

20. Does anything in this questionnaire change your thoughts concerning online gambling? Does anything in this questionnaire make you think you will change your online gambling or online poker playing habits?

A – No, I do not play much or for money so these questions do not change my thoughts about online poker.

B – No, I already knew all of this and have made my decisions prior.

C – The alleged stealing of millions from player’s accounts and US non-compliance makes me uneasy about reassuming my online poker playing.

D – I knew of some of this but now I will no longer be playing poker online.

E – It’s definitely going to make me think twice before I get involved in it again.

I found interesting that all five have done some sort of gambling or poker playing online. All five also played poker on Full Tilt Poker, the provider that is currently in the most trouble. Perhaps not surprisingly, no one would admit to having played anytime recently. Also perhaps not that surprising is that all consider poker to be a game of skill. In fact, most referenced a poker movie quote from “Rounders” about the same players being in the final tables of tournaments. One of the issues courts are grappling with is whether poker is a game of skill or luck, but maybe looking to poker players is not the best source to gain clarity on this issue as they are likely to believe in their own skill. Most admitted there are some negative side issues that accompany online gambling, but they seemed to think that with proper regulation these negatives do not outweigh the positives. All responders expressed surprise at the Full Tilt scandal and stated they would no longer play on the provider. It also caused them to take a more cautious approach to online gambling. Overall, it seemed like the responders were seemed to think online gambling should be legal, regulated and somewhat open to taxation. They were relatively informed of the scandals and recent laws but still were in favor of online gambling despite them. I do not know what the future holds for online gambling. But its proponents seem to be in it for the long haul and willing to continue to fight for legalization. As for how Congress feels, online time will tell.

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~ by jramsey5213 on November 30, 2011.

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