Monday, September 22, 2008

ONLINE GAMBLING--------- BOON OR BANE?

Online gambling is a very recent development or add on to the primitive gambling practices known to the world. But in spite of its recent origin the effect and popularity of the same is quite huge. It can be said that since the impact is widespread that is the only reason which makes us discuss the boon or bane factor for the same. Before we start off to getting involved with the pros and cons of the topic let us first have an overall idea of the topic.

‘Online gambling’, think for a moment what vibes this word sends to you, thrill, convenience, action, insecurity , maybe some of the probable reactions you would associate with it. Online casino gambling means staking anything of value in expectation of winning, which is the result of an outcome of a particular nature. Betting or staking is a common feature of our daily lives but doing the same in order to win huge sums of money and where even one’s own valuables are at stake, is a different story. Now connect the same with its getting online, ‘Wow’ could be the possible emotion of many and ‘Oh No’ of some others. Well for sure it’s the experience in past which makes different reactions to the same situation.

Gambling is a pleasure activity and like all games have rules so does it. If one forgets the ground rules and gets over involved into deriving pleasure the game’s reputation should not be staked. Online gambling for sure has given the world many advantages which cannot be overlooked.
To start with the foremost feature of it being liked is the convenience factor. The convenience of it being played from anywhere, where one can find an Internet connection makes it loveable. If you are above the age of 21, has an Internet connection and loves to gamble then online gambling is just a click away. Next we see the choice of games available online. It is actually difficult to find all the variety in one casino, but when it comes to gambling online we have all the variety available at the click of a button. One can choose from varieties of poker, roulette, blackjack and slot machines available online. Attractive bonuses and paybacks are yet another attraction to playing the game online. The logger has the access to all the online gambling sites, so one can change its mind and site at any point of time, if the scheme offered does not continue to lure him. In order to keep the gamblers continue playing the game on one site, the online casino owners have to ensure satisfaction in terms of returns.

Next we can see is the security aspect. In online gambling the financial as well as personal security is absolute. The site owners ensure maximum security of the financial details which are shared by the gambler. On the other hand personal identity is also not revealed. People generally play with fake identities, to the extent of pretending to be opposite sex many times.

Another attraction to online gambling is that it is generally free to register on to these sites, so that also fades away the initial inhibitions. A gambler can even take trial games to have a feel of the sport without actually involving the money. This makes him understand the game and still have the safety of not staking anything. The negative aspect surrounding the popularity of the game is mainly the addiction factor. Gamblers get so addicted to the gambling that they fail to decide where to put a stop to the game. More than a game it becomes an addiction, which many of us know, generally result in huge losses, which in turn become huge debts. It is only after loosing that one realizes the worth of the amount lost. Moreover, another related point into the financial losses and gains in online casino gambling is that one does not actually feel the money. Since it is all in electronic form the losses are generally, not felt till the time one sits back to realize the value of it. This generally takes one down to a more severe extent. In traditional casinos where the pain of loss is almost instant and it makes the gambler stop the game immediately, in online gambling since things are virtual it takes a longer time for the gambler to feel the loss.

With the ease of internet connection and the comfort of disguising one’s identity many minors are attracted to the game. With fake identities and use of credit cards they fail to realize the extent to which they can go wrong. The college going youngsters have a huge liking for online gambling, as it makes them think that with every win their share of spending increases in manifolds. This is what they term as ‘easy money’, not realizing that the reverse has deeper effects. Online gambling is a boon or bane, this cannot have a one sided conclusion. As far as the convenience aspect is taken into account I personally feel that it is bliss for many. When we think of gambling we only focus on particular segment of people who would be involved in it. We cannot forget the housewives, the older generation, the not so wealthy, and the introverts who have the urge to play but fail to publicize their thoughts, can now have an option too. Apart from this all those workaholics who would love to play but their engagements restrict them from gambling have now had an option to relax and enjoy the game.

No doubt that online gambling is heading towards a negative social impact where school going kids are also developing an addiction towards it. There are families who are under severe debts due to their family members’ addiction towards the game. Since the accessibility is much more easy so the urge to play is also fulfilled faster this is leading to sever addictions. The above arguments will not lead us anywhere as it is a boon for some and bane for the others. What really matters in the end is not the composition of online gambling but the mental frame of the gambler. Why do we criticize the invention and the sport? As for me it’s a growth and a development, and how an individual takes it, is one’s own decision. We need to decide when to put the glass down, before it starts aching or after it has left us sprained.

Gambling and Mythology

Gambling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment and leisure known to man. Many civilizations have glorified gambling and it has been an intrinsic part in festivals and rituals. In fact gambling has played a major role in the formation of nations and in battles throughout the world. Gambling as we know it today has many signs which show its cultural rootedness and a particular game being played in a region might have rules peculiar to that region only. There are numerous instances from mythology and popular folklore of cultures around the world that show how gambling played a very important role in the lives of people. Today gambling is a multi billion dollar industry. One can access games from anywhere in the world through online casino sites and does not even need to be physically present at the casino to play the games. Here is a brief overview of how gambling has been a part of mythology in different culture around the world

The Indian Culture


Gambling as an activity might be considered a vice in India but it is an integral part of the Indian culture. In Indian mythology too gambling has played a very important role. In the Mahabharata which is one of the greatest epics of the Hindu religion the Kauravas and the Pandavas take part in a game of dice which is seen as the turning point in the story. The Pandavas lose everything, their kingdom, their right to rule and are sent to exile. On top of that the wife of the Pandavas, Draupadi is humiliated in open court by the Kauravas when Lord Krishna comes to her rescue. Thus the game of dice becomes the cause of the very dishonour of the Pandavas and it ultimately leads to the battle of Kurukshetra. Shakuni the uncle of the Kauravas is supposed to be an expert at the game of the dice and it is he who devises the devious plan to get the Kauravas involved with the Pandavas through the game. This is his act of revenge as he knows that the Kauravas won’t stand a chance in battle against the Pandavas. Thus we see that gambling is the key to the plot of the Mahabharata and shows that it was an accepted social activity during the Aryan period. If we observe the major festivals of India like Holi and Diwali then we find that gambling is supposed to be an auspicious activity on these days. These festivals herald the coming of newness in terms of colour, season and financial well being. It is said that if Lakhsmi the Goddess of wealth is generous to you on Diwali then the coming year will be a prosperous one. Thus on this day people gamble in millions and in almost every alternate household there is a big gambling party. Diwali truly is the material festival.

Gambling and the Greeks

Gambling found special importance in ancient Greece and the Greeks considered it more than just a fun filled activity. Just as it is today Greeks gambled in sports and races. It is said that there was huge betting in the ancient Olympics as well. In Greek mythology it is said that the sea, heaven and hell were created when Poseidon, Hades and Zeus sat at a game of dice. Zeus took Olympus, Hades the Underworld and Poseidon took the Sea. Another famous Greek myth is that Fortune was the daughter of Zeus and Tycho. Once Zeus accidentally met the goddess of Chance Tycho and the two together had a daughter called Fortune. Fortune being a goddess herself was very fond of games of chance and blessed those who played her games with passion and enthusiasm. Gambling was an important form of entertainment in ancient Greece and soldiers who were at war indulged in it regularly. There were even a number of gambling houses which paid regular taxes to the government. Many of the casino games some which are even played on online casino sites have their origin in the gambling houses of ancient Greece. They closely resemble the native games which are played with fervour in Greece even today.

The Romans Loved to Gamble


It is a fact that the Romans were hardcore gamblers and gambling was sort of a national pastime. Many historians state that gambling was in fact recognised as a major social problem in the Roman Empire. The Romans borrowed somewhat from Greek mythology when it comes to having their goddess of good luck. The Roman goddess of good luck was called Fortuna. She wore a blindfold and was supposed to be just with everyone. Her symbol was the wheel of fortune, something that is used even today in many games. The wheel of fortune is supposed to have given way to the Roulette and there are zillions of similarities between the two. There were big temples to the goddess in ancient Rome some of which survive even today and amazingly a lot of the people still look to her for good luck and prosperity.


Gambling in the Americas


The Mayans and Aztecs of America also practiced gambling on quite a large scale. Macuilxochitl was the Aztec God of gambling, feasts, music and dance. The Aztecs worshipped Macuilxochitl who was also known as Xochipilli. His name means five flowers and he was supposed to be very powerful bringing upon doom on anybody who insulted the game or cheated in it. The Mayans had a public domain for gambling. Gambling was a way to maximise profits for the high priests of Society. The ancient Mayans created a ball game which was very popular. People betted on the two teams and this was very similar to the soccer games we see today as there was a goal as well. Politics was also part of the game and it was well supported by religious leaders, the government officials and the commoners. It is somewhat scary to know that after the game either the winning team or the losing team was sacrificed to appease the Gods. So it was kind of a game of death. Thus we see that religion was deeply involved in the ballgame and people betted on who would walk out alive of the arena.

Thus it is seen that gambling has played a major role in many cultures around the world and the mythology of these cultures are full of legends which support the same.