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Online Gambling is on the Rise

From the privacy of your home you can find over 3,000 casinos online and turn his PC into an electronic casino.  Your bets will be accepted 24 hours a day, and the online casinos offer a greater variety of games than the land based ones.

Fueled by the explosive growth of the Internet and by a general acceptance of gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment, online gambling is growing at a torrid rate.

Games range from traditional casinos games like video poker and slot machines, to poker, keno, bingo and other games.  Here is a list of games offered by just one online casino: Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, Pachinko, The Dragon Spirit Pachinko, Victory Poker, Caribbean Poker, Free Ride Poker, Pai Gow Poker, Red Dog, Roulette, Sic Bo,  Slots,  Gold Rush Slots, Magic Hat Sportsbook, Video Poker, Deuces Wild Video Poker, Jacks or Better Video Poker, Joker's Wild Video Poker, King of Decks, War, and Battle Royal.

Because the uncertain legal status of Internet gaming in the U.S., virtually all online casinos that accept wagers are located outside of the United States.

Some online casinos are fronted by celebrity pitchmen such as former NFL star turned actor and beer pitchman Bubba Smith (http://www.bubbascasinos.com) and daredevil motorcyclist Evel Knieval (http://www.evelknievalcasino.com).

Other online casinos are themed to offer everything from social experiences (http://www.TheSinglesCasino.com) to a casino designed to appeal to motorcyclists (http://www.easyrollers.com).

For those of us who gamble on the Internet to win, themes are of little importance.  The theme of the casino does not give us any clue at to whether the casino is beatable.

Technologically, many of the casinos are very similar as there are a relative handful of software developers for the online casinos games.  Each casino using software from the same developer will have a similar appearance to others casinos using the software.

Generally, online gambling sites are divided into three categories, based on types of technology used.

Many e-casinos require prospective gamblers to first download a program onto their local computer before playing.  Usually the programs are free.  These online gambling sites can be good places to start your play as, once installed, the programs offer great graphics, sound, animation, and of course, the chance to play for free. 

The drawback to the sites requiring downloads is that you will have to wait for the application to download from t he casino's site to your own hard drive.   This process scares many Web newcomers off as they don't know how to download and install a downloaded program.  I will review this process for you shortly, so that you will be able to download without fear.

Since downloading usually takes some time and ties up your computers' resources while the process is occurring, I usually schedule downloads to occur after I have gone to bed or at some other time I won't be using my computer.

A slight disadvantage to downloading a file off the Internet is the risk of downloading a computer virus along with the file.  You should install good virus protection software on your computer before you download any files off the Internet.  You may download either freeware or shareware antivirus programs at http://www.davecentral.com.  I use Norton AntiVirus software which can be continuously updated via the Internet, so that the program is always current.

The second type of software used by the online gambling sites is JAVA software instead of the downloadable programs. JAVA is a computer language developed by Sun Microsystems in 1995.

JAVA software allows programs to create little programs known as applets which are embedded directly into a web document.

When online casinos use JAVA, these applets run directly through your Internet Browser.  All of the JAVA sites offer fairly good graphics, and some offer sound and animations as well.

I am not a fan of casinos using JAVA.  With a JAVA casino, you have to load the software every time you play; whereas, with downloaded software, you can begin playing almost instantly once the software has been installed on your computer.  I have also found that JAVA applets occasionally freeze my browser.  In such a situation, you may not be sure whether your last bet was accepted or not.  At any rate, it is very disrupting to have start over in the middle of a game.

The third type of site found uses software based on HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), which is the standard language used to create Web pages.

Sites using only HTML are fast to play, but they often have cheesy graphics and no sound or animation.

Problems associated with online gambling far outweigh the benefits for many would-be casino operators and gamblers.

Issues include concern about the possibility of rigged games and low pay-outs, software copyrights, credit card debt, proving the age and eligibility of players and monitoring and regulating online gambling.

While online gambling is legal in many parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean, it remains in a legal gray area in the United States. 

Legalities are still being hashed out in this area where technology has clearly outpaced the law.

There are many reasons why wagering online is going to be around a long time.  First and foremost is convenience.   In the past ten years  there has been  explosive growth in the gaming industry.  From coast to coast, there are thousands of new gaming establishments all over the USA, but they still cannot match the pervasiveness of the Internet.

Convenience is one of the online gaming industry's biggest attractions.  How else can you win $300 at lunch time playing baccarat online? 

Another reason the online casinos are growing so rapidly is privacy.  Many players in land-based casinos are reluctant to try table games such as blackjack, craps, roulette or baccarat out of a fear that they will appear foolish.  With just your mouse, keyboard and monitor as your companions, there is little reason to feel inhibited, and many persons, who would not normally play casino table games in a real casino, are playing the games in the electronic casinos.

Another factor to consider is variety.  Only a few of the world's largest casinos can come close to offering the variety of games found in the Internet casinos.  With over 30 games available online, plus sports betting, bingo, scratch cards and even lotteries, the Internet casinos offer some tough competition.

One of the biggest draws for online gamblers is the no-pressure environment of playing on your PC.  You can refer to your blackjack strategy card without feeling conspicuous and you can take as long as you want to make any playing decision.  Using the strategies I am going to teach entail using a pencil and paper as well as a calculator - items you wouldn't think of carrying into a brick and mortar casino.

One fear many persons have about online gambling is how safe it is. We'll take a closer look at this in the next chapter.

The above information was taken from the Online Gambling Toolkit.

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