Cultural Indicators of Internet Sports Betting Policy

By Abarbanel, Brett L. | UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, April 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Cultural Indicators of Internet Sports Betting Policy


Abarbanel, Brett L., UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal


Introduction

The academic study of online gambling is a relatively new field. The first occurrence of money being wagered using the Internet dates back only 16 years, and research in the field has only been actively conducted for about the past decade (Romney, 1995). Today, there are thousands of online gambling sites, served by even more online gambling skins. Politically, there is interest in this growth - it is considered everything from a source of tax revenue to the scourge of society (Bernhard & Abarbanel, 2011). The nature of the online medium has also been a cause for debate among jurisdictions seeking to legislate the activity. The Internet transcends territorial lines, and wager transactions can easily be conducted between persons located in differing regulatory schemes.

In response to increasing rates of gambling on fte Internet, government policy has been appearing. This policy response tends to take one of four general forms - actively allow, actively prohibit, passively allow, or passively prohibit (Policy Department, 2008). Those governments that actively allow or prohibit have passed and/ or imposed regulations which deal explicitly with Internet gambling, and those which passively allow or prohibit have not enacted any legislation which deals specifically with the Internet medium (Policy Department, 2008). Passive policies also include those jurisdictions that have chosen to apply any pre-existing gaming regulation, generally based on land-based gambling laws.

Betting on sports is a unique case of gambling. Sports and sports betting are and have been intimately intertwined for thousands of years, and in many cultures it can be difficult to determine where one begins and the other ends. Gambling can be viewe d as a threat to the integrity of sport, which has long stood as a bastion of honor and strength in a community and society (Binde, 2005). As such, sports betting may be treated with trepidation politically, due to cultural views on sport.

To measure the cultural and sociological factors which contribute to each country/ jurisdiction's unique make-up, Geert Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede, 2009) are widely accepted by many academic disciplines as a means of quantifying the very qualitative cultural characteristics of differing countries. Table 1 lists the Hofstede indices, along with brief definitions.

The purpose of this study is to identify social and cultural commonalities in countries with similar approaches to Internet sports betting operations policy. Following this, the author hopes to help predict gambling policy choices for countries that have not yet established policy regarding online sports betting operations.

Research Questions and Hypotheses

The research questions serve several disciplinary interests, from an online gaming operator's interest in government relations, to sport sociologists who wish to compare sports betting with sport itself, to policy makers who seek to emulate countries similar to theirs when making new policy. The research seeks to answer the following questions:

a) Do the four Hofstede index scores distinguish countries' Internet sports betting operation policies?

b) What is the relative importance of the index scores in classifying the policy types?

The terms by which the Hofstede indices are computed, die author hypothesizes that countries with active policies regarding operation of sports betting sites will have higher mean UAI scores than countries with passive policy types. The author further hypothesizes that countries that actively or passively allow companies to operate sports betting sites will have lower mean PDI scores than those which actively or passively prohibit the practice. Because PDI denotes how willing the population is to accept inequalities of power, the author postulates that a population's acceptance of a law that limits their freedom to gamble will be reflected in higher PDI scores. …

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