A Dynamically Growing Trend
Although the Internet offers nearly limitless possibilities in the information and services it can provide, one craze in particular has recently gained substantial ground – gambling. While the increased availability of on-line casinos is not an entirely new occurrence, online poker in particular has captured the hearts and minds of people around the globe.
To quote online poker news (2004), “Gambling over the Internet has become big business in the United States over the past year despite a recession that has caused an industry-wide advertising slump. Internet gambling, once thought of in the same seedy vein as online pornography, has gained a level of legitimacy despite myriad controversies facing it. The sector has become the fifth largest advertiser online, jumping to 2.5 billion from 911 million ads in the last year. Online gambling firms are now advertising on more mainstream sites, thus appealing to whole new groups of gambling enthusiasts.”
This occurrence is not unique to the United States. According to online casino reports (Jan. 2004), “…the amount gambled in poker rooms around the world increased [within the last year] from £6 million a day to £38 million. In Great Britain alone, £3 million a day is staked on Internet games.”
While these figures may not be absolute, they definitely illustrate the boost that online poker has provided to Web-based gambling. For example, in 2002 approximately 30 online poker rooms were available. The most recent tally reveals that this total has risen to about 150, and analysts speculate that this number will continue to increase. (www.ladbrokes.com)
While the worldwide gambling industry in general is valued in excess of a trillion dollars, the scope of online gambling continues to broaden. Gamblingmagazine.com (Oct. 2003) states, “industry analysts estimate that online gambling turnover was $11.5 billion in 2000, with the volume increasing to $21.5 billion in 2002, with revenue equaling about $1.3 billion. The Casino and Gaming Market Research handbook further anticipates online wagering of over $30 billion by 2005. This report also…estimates the worldwide number of wireless gamblers will reach 500 million by 2006, generating $17.5 billion in revenue.”