Published on June 10th, 2007 8:19 pm EST

Anti-gambling advocates would have you believe that making online gambling illegal is the best way to deal with the problem of people being addicted to online gaming. The fact of the matter is that their argument is not grounded in reality, and making online gambling illegal actually makes it easier for them to fuel their addictions.

The fact is, with government regulation and legalization, many of the problems that we associate with online gambling can be fixed. Making it illegal and leaving it in the hands of shadowy offshore companies is not the way to go.

With regulation and legalization, the US government could make a ton of money, not only from taxing any online winnings, but changing poker rooms a license fee to operate in the US. In addition to that, the government could generate more revenues by levying penalties to online poker rooms for not properly regulating problem gamblers or allow underage players to play on the sites.

By regulating the industry, the US government would force poker rooms to utilize proper technology that can check on the age of any person signing up at the poker rooms. Also, they could ensure that poker rooms must vigilantly seek out and ban any players that they deem to be problem gamblers. If a player is continuing losing and depositing, then the poker rooms should have to be made to contact these players and ensure that they do in fact have the means to gamble such large amounts of money. If a player is found to be gambling beyond their means, the poker room must be made to ban this player, or face financial sanctions from the government.

Presumably, the US government would make hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues by regulating and taxing the industry, which could then be spent on creating new support programs for problem gamblers. The US Government could also force online poker rooms to devote a certain amount of their advertising budget on advertising for addicted gamblers websites and support groups.

The US Government needs to realize that making online poker illegal is not fixing the problem; it's only making the problem worse, as there are no incentives for online poker rooms to effectively police their own rooms. With the US government regulating the industry and holding poker rooms accountable, there will be a much lesser chance of problem gamblers being able to gamble their money away online.

In the end though, there is nothing stopping a player from selling their house and gambling away all of their money in one night in Las Vegas. Until the US government addresses the hypocrisy of this, there is no point in any further discussion. We want to make online poker illegal because we are looking out for your best interests and don't want you to gamble all of your money away; but feel free to fly down to Las Vegas and lose your money! Or even better, the local casino down the street!