Legalized gambling has gained popularity in the late 1990s, with fifteen gambling websites in 1996 and more than two hundred in 1997. Frost & Sullivan reported that revenues from online gambling topped $830 million in 1998. In the same year, online poker rooms began to crop up. A bill in the US Senate, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1999, would have prohibited online gambling for U.S. citizens. In the meantime, multiplayer online gambling also took off.
Problem gamblers may develop a gambling addiction, particularly if they are exposed to electronic payment methods. Other symptoms of problematic gambling include a disturbed sleep cycle, frequent availability and constant access to the computer. Those with gambling addictions should seek professional help for the problem. Online gambling is an addictive activity that is not for the faint of heart. To help prevent such problems, parents and trusted adults should educate themselves on responsible gambling. In addition, they should react to the concerns of their children if they exhibit unhealthy gambling habits.
Regulations regarding online gambling have changed in several jurisdictions. France has proposed new laws to regulate and tax the industry. The budget minister, Eric Woerth, stated that “the new laws would help to bring online gambling into line with the gambling industry in the rest of the nation.” However, these plans still prohibit betting exchanges. Despite the recent changes, many online casinos are voluntarily adopting this rule. This is a welcome move to protect consumers. However, there are some challenges to this new regulation.