Online Casino Gambling: A Global Phenomenon

If you check to see where the headquarters of the online casino gambling establishments that you like to visit are located, you’ll discover that a great percentage of them are based in the Caribbean (there and Gibraltar) — on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, specifically. But as of late, a global pool of lawmakers and online casino gambling detractors, including the WTO (World Trade Organization) itself are trying to get these establishments shut down.

Fortunately for us players, the boom in online casino gambling has a life of its own — one that will not so easy be quashed. In fact, a panel investigating the dispute ruled that the U.S. was in violation of its own financial regulations when it gets in the way of American financial institutions engaging in transactions with Antigua-Barbuda online casinos. Score one for online casino gambling.

Actually, score more than that. Numerous countries are starting to face facts about the lucrative business of online casino gambling and finding ways for their local economies to capitalize on the craze. Not only does online casino gambling provide to the local communities that license and regulate them enormous sums of money in the form of tax revenues, but the online casino gambling industry also fosters huge job growth in whatever geographical areas it touches. Consider Antigua-Barbuda, where 30% of the residents are employed by online casino gambling establishments.

It is surely with incentives like those in mind that Prime Minister Tony Blair is trying to enact new legislation in the U.K. that will likely encourage more casinos to be built and a rise in casino gambling throughout the country. Supported by 53% of British voters polled, the new Bill if enacted will, among other things, remove all slot machines from around 6,000 different places and allow them to be placed together in new casinos with extended hours of operation. This legislation may even coax existing online casinos to move their bases of operations to Britain. Many observers and analysts believe this will inevitably lead to other similarly supportive measures aimed at online casino gambling as well.

Meanwhile, the French reportedly gamble 2 times more and for 3 times longer than their British counterparts. France’s citizens have been enjoying online casino gambling for years, especially since a loophole in European Union policy that heavily restricts land-based casino gambling (essentially requiring any French citizen who wishes to gamble to do so exclusively in state-run operations) has no bearing on online casino gambling, practically ensuring the industry a steady stream of eager participants. In fact, many believe that the popularity of online casino gambling is responsible for the skyrocketing demand for high-speed, broadband internet service.

The Australian government is getting into the action as well, granting an online casino gambling site a license to open a customer service center in the state of Tasmania. Recruiting has already begun, and an estimated 300 jobs will be created in the high-unemployment area.

A growing interest in online casino gambling in Asia has led to one of China’s most popular pastimes – the 4,000-year-old card game Mahjong – being offered as a multiplayer online casino game. Approximately 45% of Chinese people polled report that they play Mahjong regularly for money and whether China permits online casino gambling or not, there will be no shortage of players worldwide flocking to any site that offers the game.

Recently a campaign has been put into motion to legalize online casino gambling in Japan as well, supported by the country’s Liberal Democratic Party, currently in power. Several departments in the government have been brought in to figure out how to make this work for Japan’s economy, and it is expected that online casino gambling operators may be invited to contribute to the talks in due time.

And online casino gambling may be right around the corner for Israel, the country’s social and economic cabinet having just given permission for two horseracing tracks to be built, equipped of course with full-fledged betting. In order to make this work, the Israeli government will be obliged to lift its long-standing ban on sports gambling.

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Shifts In Casino Gambling Trends

The internet’s ability to blur boundaries and society’s acceptance of casino gambling and sports betting ultimately shed light on the inconsistencies and loopholes of American gambling laws. From the makeshift sports book stalls in Nevada, most sports betting activities shifted operations and exploited the possibilities of cyberspace in the mid-1990s. At present, there are numerous online gaming sites catering to sports betting and casino gambling based in countries like Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Ireland.

Despite overseas-based operations, the lion’s share of the revenues and clients of these sites come from American states. In fact, recent studies show that these online casino gambling and sports betting sites earn more than legal casinos operating in Nevada. The profits of online gambling and betting sites are estimated at $70 billion for 2005 alone. This is a staggering amount compared to the reported $2 billion from Nevada casinos. This is enough to overthrow the three-decade reign of Nevada casinos from the 60’s to the early 90’s. Considering that sports book and casino sites have been operating for less than two decades, they are clearly a threat to the thriving Nevada gambling scene.

For decades, Las Vegas is the only place legal for gambling operations. Atlantic City followed suit and made casino gambling legal; the following decades saw the proliferation of state lotteries, card clubs, gaming ships, Indian casinos, and off-track betting salons across the nation. But still, these developments are not enough to compete with online gambling. The industry of online gambling is not even swayed by staunch opposition from legal US casinos. The gambling laws of the United States of America do not help, too. They vary widely from the different states. Most states ban all forms of gambling while some make exceptions. Inconsistencies like these make it easy for online operators to find and use loopholes in the law. The American Gaming Association maintains a defensive stand regarding online gambling. The association pushes for federal laws on the regulation of online gambling. According to them, the unregulated nature of the online gambling industry is its advantage over traditional casinos; regulating it puts both camps on even footing.

But despite this stand, some Nevada casinos are following the old stand-by: if you cannot beat them, join them. November 1998 saw the start of a new trend; traditional casinos started acquiring off-shore online casino gambling companies to improve their profits. An affiliate of the Hilton Hotels absorbed the Australian sports book Centrebet.com. Other Nevada casinos followed and this cycle again spawned a new barrage of debates.

Contrary to their earlier dislike of the online gambling industry, the traditional casinos set their sights higher. They are now pressuring the Congress to pass a law that legalizes online gambling. This is done in an effort to lower production costs; legalization means that they could now shift their operations in the US. Harrah’s and MGM Mirage, the two leading casinos in Nevada and undoubtedly owning their own online gambling sites, lead the casinos in requesting for the regulation of online gaming. Clearly, this move requesting for regulation does not intend to put traditional casinos at par with online sites anymore. The competition shifted between independent online sites and Nevada casino-owned sites. A move to regulate translates to double profits for the Nevada casinos.

Whatever comes out of this new development in casino gambling, gamers are still assured of their gambling fix. Possibly, if the proposed regulation is approved, there would be more security in betting online since it is now under US laws. Like before, casino gambling proves itself to be a dynamic and ever-changing industry.

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Playing and Paying Big: The World of Internet Gambling Takes its Winnings

Gambling isn’t about winning, it’s about playing – and when there’s an immense opportunity to play, there’s undoubtedly a colossal industry in the making. This is precisely the notion that the internet gambling business thrives on; after all, a little accessibility can work wonders on any business. But the online gambling industry has gained more than a little popularity over the last decade, growing into $14.5 billion market. What’s more, industry revenues are anticipated to climb to a whopping $25 billion by the year 2010 – nearly half of which is foreseen to come from US players, with Japan and China, who gamble twice as much as they shop online, trailing close behind. And the lingering threat of anti-gambling laws certainly isn’t doing much to slow the industry’s astounding speed of success.

But the proven growth of the internet gambling industry should not come as a surprise to anyone. Gambling, on its own, is of a nature that picks its winners and losers at random. Whether someone is an avid gambler or a first-time player, he or she has the opportunity to strike it big – and this ‘gamble’ is undeniably just as much a part of the appeal as the potential reward. But moreover, a better means of accessibility into the realm of an already booming business denotes inevitable expansion – and at an astonishing pace. This is just the idea behind internet gambling. No matter where in the world a person is, an internet connection paired with that one vital ingredient – money – will allow that person to place a bet. Even people who have never thought of setting foot in a casino now have the ability to venture into one at their own pace. And with over 2,000 gambling sites, there’s certainly no shortage of choice.

But the industry hasn’t stopped at ‘traditional’ modes of gambling either. With such an incredible client backing, it currently has a bit of room to make things more ‘interesting’. It is, for example, straying from casino style and sports themed betting to wagering on topics within the entertainment industry. Will your favorite celebrities survive their relationships? Who will win at the Oscars? Place your bets! It’s like taking a trip to Las Vegas – except you don’t have to travel, there are no bright, blinding lights, and the gambling never really has to end.

A current concern regarding the industry has to do with a greater degree of addiction that is linked to online gambling. This is simply a result of Internet gambling sites providing a higher level of access to players than the original, or ‘real’, casino. But when an alarming fifty percent of the gambling industry’s profits come from five percent of the population, one begins to wonder what the statistics will stagger to with the rise of internet gambling. However, certain online gambling sites, such as Unibet, are also taking the approach of promoting responsible online gambling. If this approach becomes a norm, it could help online gambling from spinning out of control.

Yet the possibility that online gamblers will have spending addictions is just the reason they’re seen as a money making ‘opportunity’ for many companies on the Internet. People willing to bet their money online for a potential loss are simply more likely to shop online as well. Gamblers are more apt than non-gamblers to click on ads, sign up for marketing posts, and to ultimately spend their money online. Thus, the gambler is undoubtedly a big target in the marketing world.

So with an evident link between Internet gamblers and online market success, it’s no wonder that many are placing their bets on the future of the online gambling industry. And with Internet gambling paving the way for a larger ‘pool’ of players within the gambling world, it doesn’t seem that the business will run out of luck any time soon.

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