Despite having recently celebrated its 234th birthday, America is often described as a relatively young nation, especially when compared to, say, its former colonial English master – a teenager compared to an old age pensioner, if you will. This analogy is occasionally used to account for America’s brash approach to international diplomacy, i.e., fueled with the absolute dead to rights certainty associated with adolescence, America seldom pauses to think there might be an alternative approach than the one it has already charted, and thus dismisses the sage counsel of more experienced elders. And so it is with its approach to certain social issues, including the issue of gambling.
Which is why the recent special report on the global gambling business in UK-based The Economist magazine is such a useful read for people in our industry, and for passing on to people outside the biz, as well. It’s a rational, level-headed, nuts and bolts report, relying on facts and figures rather than hyperventilated emotion and spurious evangelical Christian talking points.
One of the more conspicuous issues The Economist raises is that despite the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, Americans are gambling as much (or more) now than ever. By maintaining their hard-nosed pro-prohibition stance, I’m sure most anti-gambling American politicians imagine themselves as Jim Bowie or Davy Crockett at the Alamo, facing certain defeat at the hands of a vastly superior force, yet remaining steadfast and resolute to the end. But given that nearly half of Americans made some kind of money wager over the past year, who exactly is asking these politicans to make such a sacrifice? Would Bowie and Crockett have been so eager to die for their cause if they were told that half the Alamo’s occupants didn’t believe Mexican general Santa Anna was such a bad guy after all?
As The Economist points out, gambling has changed more in the last 10 years than it has in the previous 70. It wouldn’t hurt any of us to familiarize ourselves with the new rules of the game. Start here, or head directly to the individual articles listed below: