Being awaken every morning at 7: 00 am by creditors wanting their money may be one of the most depressing experiences. If the U. S. congress passes the bill allowing all forms of online gambling, many more people may experience creditor harassment. "Gambling is like a drug, just one hit and the addiction starts" (Perkinson).

Over the past decade State governments have been fighting hard to raise the gambling age to twenty-one in casinos, now they want to legalize online gambling at age 18. Online gambling should not be legalized due to irresponsible people, the chance of online casinos being fraudulent, the raise in credit debt, underage kids gambling and the fact that gambling is addictive. As long as there has been a red, white, and blue flag flying in our country, gambling has had a presence. The United States has had a long history of allowing some form of legal gambling, and a degree of tolerance of illegal gambling. The acceptance of gambling has been known to change rapidly in the past. The cause of this was due to scandals and political control by gaming interests led to backlashes.

This then resulted in the regulation or prohibition of gambling. The history of gambling in our country can be split up into three waves. The first wave began during the colonial period and lasted until the mid 1800's. The second wave started at the end of the Civil War and lasted until about 1900. The third wave started during the Great Depression and is currently going strong.

The length and size of the current wave is characterized as an explosion, not a wave due to the popularity of gambling. The first two waves of gambling died out due to the resurfacing of morals and scandals in gaming. Basically, people can live with adverse odds, but cant handle cheating. So what could possibly end the third explosion of gambling? I don't have the exact answer to that, but if lotteries became fraudulent or a sports player would rather win a bet than the game, society could see a huge downfall in gambling. (Rose) The worlds first virtual online casino, Internet Casinos, Inc. (ICI) commenced operation on August 18, 1995 with 18 different casino games, online access to the National Indian Lottery, and plans to launch an internet sports book.

In all, according to Rolling Good Times Online gambling magazine, there are between 1500 to 2000 gambling-related sites on the net and more are up and running every day. (Mcdonald) Why are the casinos expanding their business to the internet? The answer to this question is only one word: money. It is estimated that physical casinos revenue about 2. 4 billion dollars a year.

(Isidore) This is why casinos are so extravagant, they want your money. So if casino's are already making crazy money, why expand to the internet. Again, that evil word money. An estimated twenty million people are currently gambling online. ICI has received over 40, 000 registrations for its service, and over seven million visits per month. It is estimated that about 90% of adults participate in some form of gambling.

The overall market for online gambling is estimated to be approximately $49 Billion Dollars a year. (Mcdonald) Besides a much larger profit, the running cost of online gambling is much cheaper than running a casino. Casino owners have a list of debts each month that include salaries of the large staff's, purchasing things like chips and cards, and alcohol. If you are playing at home, there are no free drinks being brought to you. Running an online site only requires a small staff to maintain the website, and this means greater profits. Contrary to the understanding of many online gamblers, the majority of U.

S. states have made it illegal to operate any type of gambling businesses outside of that actually sponsored by the state. Currently there is an extreme fine line of online gambling being legal. The only legal way to gamble online is to wager player against player. In other words, there can not be a house, so no company is making money off from your bet.

Because of the legalities of online gambling, one can only register and play under an off-shore account. We already have online gaming. It exists in an unregulated form. Off-shore companies (companies outside the US) supply the means by which Americans can bet sports, play poker or otherwise gamble away their life savings in the name of "personal entertainment." In the past the federal government has left gambling laws up to state legislature.

Now the federal government passed what is called the Wire Act. The Wire Act is the statute most often cited as making on-line gambling a federal offense. The operative subsection reads: Whoever being engaged in the business of betting or wagering knowingly uses a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest, or for the transmission of a wire communication which entitles the recipient to receive money or credit as a result of bets or wagers, or for information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. (Badger) So, as long as online poker players do not participate in owning a share of the house rake; as long as players only wager against each other; as long as players participate in the skill game of poker and do not bet sports; as long as players obey state laws, it's legal.

This is where a player must make the decision, if his or her state has stringent laws against online gambling, they could then be in violation of a federal offense. I'll let readers draw their own conclusion on whether they believe it's worth it or not. The worst part about on-line gambling is its easy access. Real life gambling is legal in 48 states.

Further more, no matter where you live in the continental U. S. there is a casino, racetrack or card room within a two-hour drive (Brunker). Now, out of the convenience of your own home one can gamble, cutting down the two hours to two seconds. The internet has made gambling so convenient that one can get started without ever leaving the house.

All one needs to get going is a credit card. So, what if you don't have a credit card? The internet once again comes through, you can sign up for an outrageously high interest credit card, virtually regardless of credit rating. Once you have a credit card, you " re ready to start gambling under an off-shore account. Bringing gambling into the home is simply too big of a risk.

Underage gamblers and compulsive gamblers wouldn't stand a chance. And let's not make it easier for good people to fall victim to their excesses. What gamblers do not seem to understand is this, casinos are not around because they fork out money to everyone that enters the door. Once you enter the door to the casino they " ve got you, if you spend enough time in that casino, you will not come out a winner.

If the odds of a game are too high favoring the player, a casino simply wont offer the game. This is why casino's can afford building million dollar complex's, people not knowing when to quit. Gambling, along with tobacco and alcohol have an age restriction on them because they are addictive potentially addictive habits that juveniles are not seen as mature enough to engage in. If you don't think teenagers can gamble because it's illegal, think of alcohol and drug abuse. A recent survey in Vermont of 21, 297 high school students found that 53% of the students gambled in the last twelve months and 7% reported significant gambling problems (Tech). Gambling problems are at least as high in children as they are in adults.

Where do our children learn that gambling is safe? To answer that question you have to look into the average American home. In the average American home, the average parent, spends three minutes a day talking to their child. While in the average home, the average child watches television 4-8 hour per day. Our children know that gambling is fun and safe. An example of this is Jerry, 16." I started by betting on sports games. I'm into football see, but soon I was betting on all of the sports, basketball, baseball, soccer, even tennis, you name it.

I did pretty well at first. I was making good money, and I said to myself, "this is pretty neat." I couldn't wait to get the sports page every day so I could work on the point spread. I guess it all started there. Soon I had a bookie, they " re not hard to find, and then I discovered internet gambling. Sports betting and scratch tickets pale in comparison to that, it's instant. I'd be up all night betting and then have problems getting to school.

But who needed school. I had all this money I could win without an education. Education was for suckers. Then I started losing, I mean really losing.

I couldn't make a good bet, and if I did win, I'd put it right back in. I tried to stop but I kept going back. It was as if the computer owned me. I was at it all day and all night sometimes, trying to make up the losses. I had to steal from my parents to pay back my credit card bills and then I used their credit card numbers, punched them in just like they were my own. Well that did it.

I had to steal their credit card bills from the mail so they wouldn't know what I was doing, but I knew if I didn't win soon they would know. When the credit card companies started calling the house I was done. I couldn't always get to the phone first even if I tried. When the truth came out, the family was thousands of dollars in debt. That night I tried to kill myself. I couldn't stand hurting my parents like that." (Perkinson) This could sound like a familiar story to some.

An innocent game, peak of adolescence, turns bad and then evil. This is just another example of how disastrous it would be if there was a complete legalization of online gambling. The fact is that the internet is so vast, so far-reaching that it is practically incapable of being regulated. Because off-shore accounts are required to legally online gamble there is always the possibility of scandalous operators refusing to pay winners, offering dubious games of chance, making false claims, and closing up shop and setting up under another name whenever their debts become too big to honor. Addiction professionals know how gambling goes with drugs and alcohol but gambling is different. It's a pure behavior, not a drug.

Most people who enjoy gambling see it as a game. It's exciting and fun. But some citizens are caught up in an addiction as powerful as drug addiction. Like all other addicts gambling addicts deny that they are addicted to gambling. The fact is some people may not know that they are addicted, so a ten question test was developed to let people know if they should consider seeking help. "Pathological gambling is a persistent and recurrent behavior as indicated by five or more of the following: 1.

The individual is preoccupied with gambling (i. e. preoccupied with reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble. 2. The individual needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement. 3.

The individual has repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop gambling. 4. The individual is restless or irritable with attempting to cut down or stop gambling. 5.

The individual gambles as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (i. e. , feeling of helplessness, guilty, anxiety, and depression). 6. The individual after losing money gambling often returns another day to get even (chasing one's losses). 7.

The individual lies to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling. 8. The individual has committed illegal acts such as forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement to finance gambling. 9. The individual has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, education or career opportunity because of gambling. 10.

The individual relies on others to provide money or relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling." (Perkinson) Addiction works through the meso limbic dopamine system of the brain, wether it be drugs or gambling, addiction stats here. Recent neurobiology proves that pathological gambling is a chronic relapsing disease, like alcoholism. (Bell) Pathological gambling is an addiction that can be treated the same way as other addictions. To recover, gamblers like all addicts need to get honest with themselves and others, go to recovery group meetings and try to help other people there. Gambling addicts can also be prescribed Naltrexone, this drug is used to help addicts of all types to recover. (Perkinson) In regards to treatment outcome, there is a 90% stay clean rating of gamblers who go through treatment, go to gamblers anonymous, and attend aftercare.

All in all, there is little to no good that can come out of the legalization of internet gambling. The proliferation of gambling in our society is at a point where gambling, in one form or another, is as commonplace as personal injury attorneys. Gambling should be left in the casino's so it's still seen as a form of entertainment, appose to revenue. If gambling is legalized through the internet we may see the end of the third wave of gambling.

Until then, state legislatures should push to make online gambling illegal because it will cause countless people to go bankrupt, kids gambling away their future in their rooms, and the possibility of fraudulent websites scamming money. Works Cited Badger, Steve. Is online poker legal? 15 Apr. 2005. Web site talks about the legalities of online poker.

Talks about the stance that the federal government takes against gambling. This is called the wire act, but does say that gambling laws are up to state legislature Bell, Tom W. Internet Gambling: Prohibition v. Legalization. Chicago, IL. 21 May 1998.

05 Apr. 2005. Bell's point is that online gambling will provide a more wholesome for one to gamble in, thus being able to lower (or in some states) keep the gambling age at 18. Brunker, Mike.

Online Gambling goes Global. Online posting. 10 Apr. 2001. MSNBC. 06 Apr.

2005. Article talks about the struggle and effects of the legalization of placing bets on professional sporting teams online. Makes the point that monopoly money is easier spent that cold hard cash, thus the reason casinos have chips and don't use currency. Isidore, Chris.

Online Wagering's Gamble. Online posting. 17 Sept. 2004.

CNN. 05 Apr. 2005. The article states that all current online gambling must be done on off-shore accounts. Due to the off-shore accounts there are unscrupulous operators.

Also some foreign sites have been unwilling to pay up when big bets are won. knowles, Brian. Should the federal Gov't prohibit online gambling. Online posting. 15 June 2000. 06 Apr.

2005. Gambling is a highly addictive venture whose costly stakes destroy families and careers, raises crime rates and leads to the creation of pathological gamblers. , Andrea. INTERNET GAMBLING PROHIBITION ACT OF 1997. Online posting. May 1998.

07 Apr. 2005. Gambling addictions may increase because of the detached gambling environment on the Internet. The Internet provides a detached gambling atmosphere because there is no tangible representation of money, such as chips, being won or lost over the Internet. McDonald, Mike. Legalize it, Dont criticize it.

Online posting. 18 Oct. 2004. 06 Apr. 2005.

Mike makes the point that if his state or Arkansas bans online gambling, one of his neighboring states will legalize it, taking all the taxable winnings. Online Gambling. Online posting. 17 Nov.

2003. CBC News. 07 Apr. 2005. Online gambling is the wild west of the gaming world. Unlike state lotteries, and government-regulated casinos, it is largely unregulated, and in fact illegal in many countries.

Perkinson, Robert R. Teenage Gambling. 12 Jan. 2005. 19 Apr. 2005.

Perkinson is a Ph. D and helps people deal with t hier addictions through therapy. He describes why people have addictions and what can be done to try to treat them. Also, a sorry of a 16 year old boy who has his family in thousands of dollars in debt due to online gambling Swartz, Jon.

3 states may legalize online gambling. Online posting. 15 Mar. 2005. USA Today.

05 Apr. 2005. Article talks about the profit the government can make through the legalization. Kasper says legalized Internet poker could bring in millions through taxes and fees... Thats a lot. Tech, Duke L.

online gambling. Online posting. 20 June 2001. 07 Apr. 2005. Deals with the confidentiality of accounts.

Another words states how easy it would be to steal someones account, or just remember t hier password, and then run up a large bill on their credit card, Matter. Dont take away online gambling. Online posting. 22 Feb. 2005.

06 Apr. 2005. Forum talks about how addictive online gambling is, people who made post's refer to online texas hold em as online crack.