Online Gambling: A Study and Overview

“All In” Online Could Push Land-based Gambling Out

In the 21st century where all businesses have started having a presence online whether it be a multi-billion corporation or a mom & pop run family business, why should a casino stay behind. With the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda passing the free trade and processing act in 1994, online casinos first appeared on the internet and since then has become one of the most common games that is played online now-a-days is fast becoming the apps at mobile US casinos. Dominating the internet traffic in over 70 countries it has become the fastest growing business in the world where the revenues in the United States alone exceed $54 billion and the foretasted revenues for this industry are set to exceed $150 billion by 2015 (Intellogix.com 2000). This makes the estimation that the online casino and gambling industries are also set to increase in revenue generated, jobs created, and in player acquisition.

All the traditional methods of gambling are now available to everyone on the convenience of their Android laptops, iPad’s, and iPhones are the only things required to access them are a way to transfer money to the web-site and an Internet connection. Have these two things ready and an individual can enter the gamblers paradise, with games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, slots, poker etc. presented to them by the truckload. The difference is that online you are in your home, while you are playing on the game servers located in other countries, the line between legal USA online casinos and UK casinos that do not accept US players has been blurred over the years.

Demographics and the Growing Regions for Online Gambling:

Based on a study conducted in 2006 the number of people who gambled online the estimated number was between 14 million to 23 million, wherein 28-35% of the total were U.S. citizens, 49% from the Asia-Pacific regions and 23% from Europe. (American Gaming Association, 2006b; RSeConsulting, 2006)

A profile breakdown of Internet gamblers which was undertaken by the American Gaming Association in 2006 found that out of the 552 individuals that took part in the study 68% were male, 70% of the total participants were below the age of 40, 61% had at least a college educations, 41% earned paychecks of $75000 or above per year also almost all of the participants had started gambling online since the past two years (American Gaming Association, 2006c).

Advantages of Online Gambling:

Traditional casinos have their own charm when it comes to players, the feel the atmosphere the experience and the sights all come into play when it comes to traditional casinos but most of us would find that taking a monthly, half-annually or even a yearly trip to the gambling heavens of Las Vegas or Macau would stretch out budgets to breaking point. Keeping that in mind online gaming is a boon to regular gamers who want to gamble anytime of the day, they can now do it from the comfort of their home. Also the major advantage of online gaming is that the online venues tend to have better payout ratios and lower charges as the stiff competition in the online gaming industry keeps companies on their toes and force them to have different bonus schemes that would ensure that a customer keeps utilizing their services.

New USA online casinos have better odds (more wins) that translate into more wins per amount of money wagered when compared to land based gambling halls and casinos. For instance, slots payout up to 20% more on the dollar, while other games like roulette, have only one zero, making the odds of winning money online better once again. They also have the potential to increase the revenue of taxable expenditures in the USA making for a better economic impact they would have been suspected from the waning of offline to online gambling.

Casino Bonus Schemes:

Many online casinos offer sign-up bonuses to newly registered players usually after they make their first deposits or on the duration of their play, money spent etc. This is a form of marketing for the casino but in the end it’s the player who benefits. The different kinds of bonuses that are offered are:

No Deposit Bonuses: This is the most popular form of bonus used by casino companies to attract players towards it. The company offers you a certain sum of money upfront without the need to deposit money but this amount may or may not be cashed or would come with conditions so as to keep the players playing once they have registered.

Non-Cashable Bonus: This is a type of bonus which stays in your account and can be used towards game play. Usually non cashable bonuses either disappear when you cash out or may stay in your account till you have lost it.

Comp points: Just like at a traditional casino comp points also exist in the virtual world, these can be exchanged for cash prizes or other comps but the amount of comp points given per wager are miniscule and require the player to bet heavily to gain a significant amount of comp points.  People have successfully played smart and placed smart bets to win various comp prizes.

Casino Bonus Hunting: Bonus hunting is kind of like arbitrage where you can find discrepancies in the house edge and the casino bonuses. To simply put how it works,  the amount that you might possibly lose is lower than the amount that you would receive in the bonuses thus turning you a profit.

Another unique aspect of online gaming which no casino in the world can provide is the availability of free play, Most online gaming sites give the user a chance to learn and practice the game without investing any money of their own, this can help novice players learn and professional players stay sharp. Being able to test the slots/games for real money without having to put your own cash at risk is essential for those with a limited bankroll that have no experience with online casino gambling.

Gaming companies are also employing unique, creative and unexpected games to better engage client in a way that a physical casino just doesn’t do, online gaming companies are using popular fictional characters and shows such as Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to make for a better game play and aesthetics. Along with creating better game play online gambling giants are also looking towards integrating gambling with interactive MMORPG games like EVE online and Dark Age of Camelot where the MMROPG players can use an in-game currency to get a taste of the social gambling games that the sponsor has to offer.

Then they can become a direct customer of the company purchasing the credits with real money and trying to increase the amount they have through the games, most of which are just random number generators (rng), exactly the same as a slot machine. Other companies like Bovada and Betfair are attracting more gamblers to its website by presenting old traditional games with a twist; instead of pitting the player against the machine the new games lets you bet against other players.

Disadvantages of the Internet Gambling Interface

The only major disadvantage that the online gaming interface has is the amount most people feel immersed in the visual, and aural qualities of the casino they are used to. The Internet gambling interface may cause players to devote more time to wagering activities than they might otherwise spend in a land-based venue. Accessibility to the vice of playing for money, coupled with the efficiency and speed of the games/tables online, can send the contents of wallets to nothingness very quickly.

(Griffiths, 1996; Schull, 2005; Shaffer, 1996) But this is coming under control as countries like Holland have set limits on the games that a particular player plays and the visit frequency on a casino site by that individual, the government also intervenes if the said player is observed to show a sudden increase in gambling expenditure or frequency, many other government bodies that are looking towards legalizing online poker are looking towards Holland as a benchmark for consumer safety on online gaming. Since the opposite of this is what most people choose to play online over driving to Vegas, tailoring your playstyle to reduce the disadvantages of online gambling by betting lower can help overcome the most common pitfall of blowing all your money in the first hour. When playing over the net, gambling more conservatively is the best advice I have to extend the time of your play. But don’t worry, maybe they will take care of monitoring it for you…

References :
a-1. Local Online Gambling & USA Casinos: The Financial Viability | CBR 2013. Available at: http://casinobonusandfreechip.com/local-online-gambling-usa-casinos [Accessed 13 July 2013]

a. Betfair attracts more gamblers with simpler product | Reuters 2013. UPDATE 2-Betfair attracts more gamblers with simpler product | Reuters . Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/27/betfair-results-idUSL5N0F30EZ20130627. [Accessed 13 July 2013].

b. Intellogix.com. 2000. Online Gambling Industry Revenues | Online Casino Gaming Revenues. [online] Available at: http://www.intellogix.com/gaming-solutions/online-casino-solutions/casino-revenues.html [Accessed: 13 Jul 2013].

c. Uleth.ca. n.d.. Untitled. [online] Available at: https://www.uleth.ca/dspace/bitstream/handle/10133/422/internet?sequence=1 [Accessed: 13 Jul 2013].

d. Online Gaming. 2013. Kpmg: A gamble or a Sure Bet. [online] Available at: http://www.kpmg.com/EU/en/Documents/Online-Gaming.pdf [Accessed: 13 Jul 2013].

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Jared Bates

I have been working in, and with different casinos for over twenty years, and as such I have seen many things happen to gambling online and offline. From Vegas to Atlantic City, and small places in between, my passion lies with games where I can win money.

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