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Study suggests legalizing online poker
After an extensive amount of research University of Western Ontario professor June Cotte is recommending online poker be legalized, according to a recent story in the London Free Times.
Cotte worked with colleague Kathryn Latour of the University of Nevada and over the course of their research they interviewed 20 regular casino gamblers and 10 regular online gamblers.
Cotte was surprised to learn that online poker is already bringing in $12 to $15 billion a year despite the fact U.S. players have to risk playing in an unregulated online market.
"The horse is out of the barn," she said in the Times article. "There are a huge amount of people doing this already."
During their research Cotte and Latour found that online gamblers played more frequently and aggressively. They also tended to lose awareness of their losses.
The study also indicated that illegal offshore online operators are problematic, because they occupy a legal gray area.
The benefits of legalizing online poker, according to Cotte, would be the ability to regulate the industry and hopefully reduce the harmful effects.
Cotte had several suggestions for regulating poker, including adding cooling-off periods when large sums of money are lost online. Other features could include pop-ups that would warn players about the amount of time they've been playing consecutively, and online counseling.
The U.S. government passed the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act in October 2006, which has since come under considerable criticism from both poker fans and lately the mainstream media.