Rushing To Judgment
If you ever played slot machines at an online or land based casino and noticed their great and ever growing popularity, you may have wondered how governments regulate this business. Among the various tools available to the government to control the gambling industry is legislation. One might wonder why a government would be interested in controlling gambling activities such as the slot machine. The problem is that the slot machine is but one of the things which governments continually claim is causing societal discord. The buzzword is regulation and this article will look at some of the implications of legislation as well as examining the extent to which it can be an effective tool to control gambling. This article is not intended to make the case for gambling or state control. It is merely a commentary on the effectiveness of legislative instruments in terms of regulating this industry.
The Big Guns Arrive
1. The most drastic action that legislators can take is an outright ban. This means that any sort of slot machine gambling is banned on the pain of a fine or imprisonment or both. If enforced accurately it can put a stop to the open practice of playing slot machines. However it will have no impact whatsoever on the people who gamble privately or the crafty business people who make some secret heists to allow for discreet gambling. Banning can also cause problems in terms of creating yet another enforcement tier which needs to be staffed and monitored. The government may have already been fed up with the existing tiers of administrative monitoring such that a ban is not an appropriate method. Moreover there is a possibility that a ban would fall short of human rights legislation. It seems ridiculous for a government to try and regulate the fun times of its citizens.
2. The second option is to look at regulating the hours of operation such that the overall level of participation is somewhat restricted. This can be a much better alternative to outright bans but it also has its problems. First of all it creates the tiers of further administrative monitoring which we talked about in the first point. It also involves the co-operation of the business owners and the pundits. There is nothing to stop them from conniving to circumvent any rules that may have been set for them. For politicians it is also a risky strategy that can annoy members of the general public who may want to use the slot machines at their own convenience rather than having to constantly beg for government permission to do anything.
3. Where these two approaches fail, the government has a third option which involves dealing with the effects of the operation of slot machines. If it is accepted that some of the effects of slot machines are contrary to government policy, the administration has the option of looking to deal with some of those consequences. Legislation can be enacted to tackle the issues of poverty, family break up and unemployment on the understanding that these are the outcomes of a gambling addiction. Thus although the government will not be closing the practice altogether, it will be providing for a social network to pick up the pieces when things go wrong.
Also read: Is There a Link between Slot Machine Gambling and Social Deprivation?