It wasn’t so long ago that online gambling didn’t even exist – now, it’s a major industry. And as online gambling has grown, attitudes towards it have changed drastically. Online gambling was once the target of condescension, fear, derision, and myths. Now, it’s understood to be a fun and normal hobby – one enjoyed by millions of people in the United States and beyond.
The internet: not so scary anymore
The internet is ubiquitous now, so it’s easy to forget that it hasn’t been with us all that long. As recently as the 1990s, many folks didn’t have access to the internet, and those who did were using dial-up – meaning that, unless they had two phone lines, they couldn’t use their phone and their internet at the same time. Cell phones weren’t as common, either, so this was a big deal!
As with anything new, the internet scared people. There were a lot of ways to lose money on the internet – to scammers on Craigslist (then brand new), emailers posing as Nigerian princes, and shifty online retailers in an e-commerce space that was not yet dominated by trustworthy brand names. So it’s no surprise that early online gambling sites were treated with some suspicion – back then, any site you had to give your credit card to was a little frightening.
Now, everything has changed. Amazon is one of the most trusted retailers in the world, and you can buy everything from clothes to cars online. Gambling online doesn’t seem quite so strange anymore!
Like anything new, online casinos were surrounded by a lot of misinformation. That’s no surprise: the internet was new and scary, gambling was illegal in more places, and brick-and-mortar casinos were more than happy to propagate myths about their competition.
Would online casinos pay out? People didn’t know. Would their easy availability increase the risk of gambling addiction? It seemed possible. Was it even legal? Many people didn’t know their state laws. Were the odds the same as at brick-and-mortar casinos, or were they rigged? There was no way to tell. And who ended up with the money – could casinos be funding terrorism? Terrorism emerged as a worldwide danger in the 1990s and 2000s, and it seemed like anything was possible when it came to that scary hidden threat.
We now know that all of these myths about online casinos are unfounded, but this wasn’t widely known when online casinos were new. As information about online casinos becomes more widely available, more and more folks are trying them out. Online casinos do pay, of course, and there’s no proof they have any affect on gambling addiction. They’re legal just about everywhere in the U.S. (only Louisiana has a law against them), and their odds are fair and, in some cases, even mandated by law. And, no, online casinos absolutely do not fund terrorism!
A change in the culture
Reputable online casinos (as with any industry, there are a few that don’t fit this description) have always been a safe way to have fun. But it took a little while for customers and investors to realize this, which explains why a form of entertainment that has been popular for centuries is still growing in this new space. The demand was always there, but it has taken a cultural shift to dispel silly myths about online gambling and give its rightful place alongside brick-and-mortar casinos as a fun and respectable pastime. Thanks to changing attitudes, we can now appreciate that online gambling offers gamblers a fun way to game while they’re away from the casino, and the industry is even drawing in people who have never stepped foot in a brick-and-mortar casino. Online gambling was won its battle with misinformation and unjustified stigma, and the industry will only continue to grow.