INTERNET GAMBLING AMONG COLLEGE AGE YOUTH ILLUSTRATES NEED FOR REGULATION
Despite federal attempts to prohibit Internet gambling activity, most recently through the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, there has been a sharp increase in the rate of this activity among college age youth, according to a national survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center's Adolescent Communication Institute. The monthly use of Internet gambling sites increased this year from 4.4% to 16.0% for college age male youth compared to the last survey conducted in 2008.
"The dramatic increase in use of online gambling by college age male youth indicates that payment restrictions on such sites are no longer a barrier to young people" said Dan Romer, director of the Annenberg Adolescent Communication Institute. "Young people must surely be confused by the inconsistent messages sent by our conflicting laws regarding online gambling....Why someone should be allowed to bet on a horse race but not a card game or other sports event is not altogether obvious."
Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, argues that this survey illustrates the need to replace the failed attempt at prohibition with a regulatory framework to protect consumers.
"Clearly, the freedom of the Internet has prevailed over government attempts to prohibit illicit Internet gambling activity, leaving millions of Americans, including our youth, vulnerable to the uncontrolled, underground marketplace," stated Waxman. "The need to protect American consumers should be a primary driving force for Congress to regulate Internet gambling activity as proposed in pending legislation introduced by Chairman Frank."