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.

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.

The 10 Commandments of Casino Gambling

My name is Ray W. and I have spent the past 40 years studying and playing every form of gambling/betting systems in existence. From the time I walked into my first pool hall at the age of 16 I’ve been fascinated with every aspect of it. I guess that makes me somewhat of an expert, if there really is such a thing. It’s not just me that’s fascinated though.

According to government statistics, 86% of Americans have reported gambling on something in the past 12 months. Approximately only 1/3 of the population consists of non-bettors. They state that 46% of adults gamble in casinos and seven out of ten frequent non-casino gambling. The primary source of which is horse racing, sports betting, state lotteries and online or private card games.

48 states have some form of legalized gambling with only Utah and Hawaii being the only two that do not. There are currently 13 states that have legalized commercial state sponsored casinos with a total of 443 of these establishments. The combined gross revenue for these 443 casinos was $30.74 billion annually.
The numbers are truly staggering.

Although I, like so many others, derive a great deal of enjoyment from it, any type of gambling that risks a person losing enough money to affect their standard of living (or that of their family) is self-destructive and should be avoided at all costs. I have personally watched a man lose his entire aluminum siding business overnight during a ridiculously extended session of heads-up gin rummy. Hard to believe, I know.

My attraction to gambling and casino table games in particular, is rooted in a deep desire to win every time I play. There is nothing compulsive about my approach to casino gambling. In fact, I do everything I can to take as much of the gamble out of it as possible.

The winning approach consists of only playing games that have no more than a 2% house advantage (Craps .60%, Baccarat 1.25%, Roulette 2.6% on even-money wagers and Blackjack, even money depending on the use of expert “Basic Strategy”) and rigorous adherence to an iron-clad set of precepts which are the “golden rules” or The 10 Commandments as I like to call them.

1. Never gamble when tired or depressed.

2. Never gamble with more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

3. Do Not drink alcohol before or during gambling sessions. It is the chloroform the casinos provide to separate the player from their money.

4. Keep playing sessions short.

5. Always preset a definite bankroll for gambling and Do Not exceed that amount.

6. If you are feeling “negative” about your surroundings (the table, dealers, other players or if in a losing cycle) stop betting and leave the table. The tables will still be there when your mood changes.

7. Avoid playing without a clear plan of action (betting strategy, min./max. wagers).

8. Do Not increase the size of your bets when losing. Increase wagers only when winning. This will limit losses and let winnings run up.

9. Know that the battle is not between you and the casino… it is between you and you alone. Always maintain your self-discipline.

10. Always quit when winning.

Winning consistently at these four casino table games is not that difficult. I do it all the time. There are playing and betting strategies that I believe shifts the advantage from the “house” to the player in any given short session of play.

The above 10 rules of gambling have been handed down to me by the most astute professional gamblers I have known over the years. They are essential to intelligent and consistent winning. Anyone who is not able to follow these rules has no business in a casino gambling with real money.

Life, like gambling, is a constant battle with the unknown. If you knew what the outcome would be in advance it would take all the fun out of it.

“The serious gambler is a man who is at war with chance. In the casino there is, whether he wins or loses, certainty… he consults the table, which speaks to him through the dice, as the Greeks consulted the oracles, and the oracle rewards him by telling him now, not next week or next year, whether the choices he makes are right or wrong.”

- William Pearson
“The Muses of Ruin”

Best of luck,
Ray W.

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