Magazine article The Futurist
Odds Favor More Gambling
Internet brings betting to living rooms.
Gambling has hit the jackpot. Once limited to shady operations and a small number of legal casinos, the gaming industry now is booming - portending future social, economic, and political consequences around the world.
Officially sanctioned casinos and state lotteries have boomed in the United States in recent years. Now gambling has come to the global Internet, outside the reach of most laws.
One outfit, World Sports Exchange, offers online wagers on a variety of sports, much as traditional bookmakers do. And it's legal, because the company maintains all its facilities in Antigua, a small island nation in the West Indies where gaming is sanctioned. Antigua also has a fiber-optic link to the United States, enabling heavy Internet communications.
"I think we are the future of gambling," says Steve Schillinger, co-founder of World Sports Exchange. "We offer players an exciting, fully interactive game that is quite similar to the way Wall Street works. Players on WSE essentially act like traders, buying and selling over the course of the game."
Players send money in advance to their account with the company. When a player makes a withdrawal, a cashier's check is cut the next business day and sent by mail.
"There is no wagering taking place across U.S. state or national borders," explains Jay Cohen, Schillinger's partner. "All bets take place in Antigua on our server. When players win, their account is simply credited. They can make a withdrawal whenever they like."
Legislatures have proposed various measures to control or prohibit gambling, both on and off the Internet. So far, few bills have succeeded, due to intense lobbying by gambling interests.
Some Native American tribes, now reaping huge profits from reservation casinos, point to years of poverty and discrimination as justification for expanding gaming. Their gambling profits help fund schools and public works projects. …