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Online casinos operate in lawless and dangerous environment, according to new study

 A new report published in the United Kingdom paints a picture of the online casinos industry as a lawless industry that is easily accessible twenty four hours a day and seven days a week without stepping out of the house, thus leading gamblers to become addicted to online casinos and creating large debts born out of online casinos. A recent study on online casinos and other gambling published in Britain suggested almost three quarters of the population engage in some form of gambling at some point during the year, handing the gaming industry an annual turnover of 53 billion pounds. The online casinos have seen the largest growth worldwide in recent years, and in Britain it is no different.

The biggest growth area in the United Kingdom in gambling is online casinos, through the Internet's estimated 2,300 online casinos, which generate around $12 billion (6.3 billion pounds) a year. Are consumers addicted to online casinos? Are online casinos morally bad or unethical for the young residents of the UK and worldwide? Industry experts and debates are omnipresent when it comes to online casinos. It is certain, however, that online casinos are helping fuel a substantial rise in gambling addiction. "You can basically do it from your home or your work place, and you can gamble for 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days of the year," Mark Griffiths, a professor of gambling, told Reuters in an interview. "If you are a vulnerable individual, the ease of online gambling -- the instant access and convenience of use -- is likely to fuel those addictive tendencies you have already."

The government says 0.8 percent of the population have some sort of addiction to gambling, some born from online casinos.
But sophisticated new software can be used to spot the unusual betting patterns of gambling addicts at online casinos, says eCOGRA, an online casinos auditor set up by firms like 888 Plc, Ongame and software maker Microgaming. "There are self-exclusion buttons the players can hit, and operators will sometimes contact players to suggest a cooling-off period," said an eCOGRA spokesman. GamCare, a charity for gambling addicts, said those who contacted them had average debts of over 25,000 pounds, and just under 5 percent of callers had run up debts of over 100,000 pounds.
In Britain, the government has created the independent Gambling Commission, which from 2007 will regulate the British companies who run gaming sites. Under the new Gambling Commission rules, gambling Web sites will have to train employees to spot possible problem gamblers and offer help and advice on their sites.
Online operators must also make sure customers are aware of how much time and money they have spent.
But with most companies operating from offshore jurisdictions like Gibraltar, Cyprus, Antigua and Costa Rica, complete regulation is impossible.
"It's basically a lawless land," Gamcare's Teresa Tunstall told Reuters. "We urge betters to use regulated and well known Web sites.”

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