Future Implications: Maybe the Internet is good for something after all

Could it be that the Internet may be good for something after all? It looks like it doesn't create more gambling addicts! Phew!

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

With more and more people blaming the technology industry, and most importantly, the Internet, for the current state of affairs, I'm happy to see that at least one study agrees with me in claiming that the Internet is really not the sewer of society.

According to a study conducted by the Gambling Commission, the Internet has not led to an increase is gambling addictions. Whew. For a second there I actually thought the Internet would be blamed for yet another issue in society. But, then again, I'm sure someone will come up with a study to combat this one and attack the Internet for all it's worth.

Poker chips
Maybe online gambling is OK after all. Card Squad

But getting back to online gambling--will this finally let the monkey off the backs of the online gambling sites that provide yet another outlet for people to waste money? I doubt it. Regardless of what you believe, the same groups who are attacking Web sites for promulgating a whole new type of gambling will continue to do so for their own survival.

As for me? Well, my question is simple: why do we care that people are gambling online?

Consider for a moment the issues related to online gambling. One of the first arguments out of any person's mouth is the belief that it causes more widespread gambling addictions. And now that we have that erroneous argument out of the way, the antigambling groups will attack the sites, saying they promote an illegal pilfering of money that should not be tolerated.

While I agree that some sites should be shut down for questionable practices, what about all of the the legit sites? I personally don't gamble for one simple reason: I hate to flush money down the toilet. But for those of you who do enjoy it, why should I or any other group stop you from doing it?

I've long believed that the Internet is a place where people from all walks of life can get what they want. And while some people shouldn't be able to get what they want (sexual deviants and criminals looking to commit more crimes), gambling is not included in that list.

Whether we want to admit it or not, gambling is a part of everyday life and it has been for years. There's no reason to forbid people from gambling online just because some people think it's sinful or immoral. Others could say the same for those groups.

Now, let me be clear that I'm in no way promoting gambling and urging anyone to go find the latest site and blow your life savings. But what I am saying is, simply, if you want to do it, be my guest.

People constantly complain about the Internet and claim that it's a bastion of immoral behavior, but I disagree. The Internet represents most of what is good in this world--freedom.

And now that one of the most popular arguments against online gambling has arguably been eliminated, I think it's time we stop trying to protect people from themselves and focus on our own lives--it's better for everyone that way.

Every Thursday, Don picks a current events topic and discusses how it will affect us in the future. Check out more from Don's Future Implications series.