The Rise Of Online Casinos
Many gambling companies watched and waited as the Internet developed and slowly became a place where many people began to congregate and use the availability of computer information. The first true Internet casino was opened for business in 1996 by InterCasino, and the dam was broken. The rush to start a gaming site began in earnest and grew by leaps and bounds until 2006 when the US put the hurt on the industry by making it tough for American players to fund and withdraw money from their casino accounts. The law was passed in October just before the November elections of 2006. It put many casinos out of business, as their customer base disappeared overnight and the revenue went through the floor. The shake-up on the London stock exchange of gaming stocks was brutal and cost billions of dollars in stock values.
The November elections in the US caused the passage of the US law as the Republican-led Congress pushed for this law to gain votes in the election. A Congressman named Bob Goodlatte from Virginia pushed the bill in the Congress stating that gambling was ruining the youth of America, and online gambling was immoral. The facts are that this legislator used these talking points to get the bill passed, while at the same time taking $60.000 in campaign contributions from the horse racing industry to protect online betting on horse races and the live casinos. The ruse worked. The hope is that the 2008 election could right things for the US casino player. There is a strong push in the Congress to correct this prohibition and regulate online gaming in the US.
Online casinos became very popular for many players due to its convenience and the fact that no travel was needed to play. Another factor that also added to the rise in online casino gambling was the huge growth of poker playing online. TV coverage of major tournaments and the WSOP gave poker a big shot in the arm Computer playing online began to expand by an extraordinary growth curve. People like to gamble, and the online casinos gave the public an easy way to pursue an activity they enjoyed. Trying to legislate against gambling is akin to the same prohibition against drinking. That failed, and this will probably be corrected in the next Congress. Legislating against sin does not usually work in a free society. One person’s definition of sin is not okay with another person. Gambling is a normal human reaction and has been part of many cultures since the beginning of recorded history. Online gaming was just an extension of this desire in the modern computer world that people live in today.
Popularity of any human activity will wax and wane over time, and the same is true with gaming. The legal status of gaming has the same up and down history in almost every civilized country. Online gaming will not be any different, and it will go through a series of ups and downs just like other forms of gambling have done throughout history. Other countries have decided this question for the time being The US players are a huge percentage of this market for several reasons. They have the money to risk and the natural inclination to gamble. The current legislation makes it difficult for the US players to do what is legal in European countries.
There is a tremendous amount of energy in online gaming and the new games that are constantly being unveiled on different online casino sites. The refreshing of games and interest keeps the gambling public coming back for more play. The monstrous progressive jackpots that some online sites are offering are also an incentive to continue the growth of online gaming. The simple fact that a small wager could result in a life-changing win is a strong inducement for players to continue to play at many online sites. Why else would online casino put out banner ads on their site announcing a huge win that one of their lucky customers just captured? It is hard to miss this notice when you register online to play at the casino that has just had this win happen.
Poker will not go away, and the players who love to play this skill game will continue to push for its free access. This alone could be one important factor that makes the US change some of its restrictions. Online casino play is a part of the human experience now and will be hard to restrict. The casinos have already agreed to be taxed to continue open access of the players. The drop that started in late 2006 is showing signs of stabilizing and in some cases reversing the fall from its all-time high. The public will be hard pressed to forget the ability to play from their home and its convenience.
The online gaming phenomenon is an unprecedented historical event. Computers and the Internet have changed the way we do so many things that never existed before the advent of the Internet. Computers have allowed online gaming to closely replicate live casino play. Players have taken online gaming and run with it like few other new activities in human history. The radio and TV are the only areas that closely show the growth and acceptance of the Internet and the advent of online gambling on online casinos.
The powerful growth curve was somewhat disrupted in 2006 and caused some temporary panic among online casino companies. The rapid growth was stopped in its tracks at that time, but the growth is starting to come back as time passes. What will happen in the near term is dependent somewhat on what happens in the Congress of the US as far as growth and free access to online play. The people usually remove morality legislation, as they do not like being told what they can do by any government. This current slowdown of growth is temporary and not the end of the story.