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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Study Recommends Legal and Regulated Online Gaming

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The most recent study about online gambling and its consumers hails from the University of Western Ontario, where Professor June Cotte, J.S., came to the ultimate conclusion that online gambling should not only be legalized in the United States but regulated as well. This study is unique, as Cotte interviewed 30 live and online gamblers for her qualitative, image-based study.

Cotte, the George and Mary Turnbull Fellow and Associate Professor of Marketing at the Richard Ivey School of Business, worked alongside Professor Kathryn Latour of the University of Nevada to analyze what happens when gambling moves away from a regulated physical space, i.e. casinos, to the unregulated online world. The study, “Blackjack in the Kitchen: Understanding Online Versus Casino Gambling,” will be released in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

Interviews were conducted with 20 casino gamblers and 10 online gamblers with a specific focus on poker and the online poker industry as it pertains to consumers. As nearly $10 billion is spent by consumers on online gambling worldwide each year, Cotte’s findings ultimately resulted in the recommendation that online poker be legalized and regulated.

Though the details of the study have yet to be released, some of the highlights were that online gamblers tended to play more frequently and aggressively and were more likely to lose more money than casino gamblers. However, those who played poker and other casino games on the internet are doing it already, despite attempts by the U.S. government to stop it. Therefore, her conclusion was that a regulated market would solve many of those problems.

Cotte also noted that with the online gambling companies being located offshore and without proper regulation, security and responsibility are not monitored to the extent that regulation and location in the U.S. would allow. Some of her recommendations included online counseling for problem gamblers and warnings that would appear on the players’ computers to note time spent and money lost.

The detailed findings will present more of a comprehensive overview of Cotte’s study and her suggestions for getting a handle on the ever-growing online gaming industry. The University of Western Ontario website noted in a summary about the study: “By examining online gambling as a consumption experience, we examine what happens to consumption meaning as gambling moves away from a regulated physical space to an unregulated online space, accessed from home. We explore the meaning of online gambling consumption to consumers, and flesh out the social welfare implications of our findings.”

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