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Jerry Patterson - Internet Casinos (Series 1 of 2)

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  • Jerry PattersonInternet casinos offer a gambling experience unlike that offered by real casinos as the games are delivered right to your computer screen in the privacy of your home or office, at any time of the day or night. There are close to 800 such casinos as this article is written, up from just a handful as little as three years ago. None of these casinos are actually located in the US. Many are located in the Caribbean in island nations such as Antigua and the Dominican Republic. Others are located in Canada, Australia and South Africa. The casinos in these locations are not like the casinos which we walk into expecting to find our favorite game of chance, but powerful software residing on large-scale computers programmed to make their games available through Web Sites anyone can tap into on the Internet. You access this software and play the games either by downloading the appropriate portion of it to your hard drive or through your browser.

    Boss Media, a Swedish company selling and operating Internet casinos, has estimated that the growth of the gamblers is keeping up with the growth of online casinos -- to 16 million by 2002 from 3 million in 1999. The Investment bank Bear, Sterns & Co. said in a January research report that gross betting on Internet casinos was $1.2 billion in 1999. The report estimated that this figure could soar to $3.0 billion by 2002 given the current fast growth of the online gaming industry. In fact, now this has been shattered with current forecasts in the region of a $10 billion market by 2006.

    Our main purpose in assessing the internet gambling industry is to determine whether or not these casinos are beatable and, if so, in which games, if any, can an advantage be attained?

    Before getting to this question, however, it is important that a few issues be addressed -- the casinos' legality, viability, honesty, and fairness in the games offered. Also, the issue of cheating will be posed. Then, the topics of casino marketing, casino ratings and casino evaluations will be taken up in attempt to answer the question of which Internet casinos to play. To conclude, we will present our initial comments on how to get an edge in the online casinos.

    Issues Regarding Internet Casinos

    Issue 1: Legality

    Legality is a major issue and there are currently bills before the US Congress to outlaw Internet casinos. Some states, such as Missouri and South Dakota, have passed laws prohibiting Internet casinos from offering their games of chance within state boundaries. But even if the Federal Law passes (named the Kyl bill after the Congressman sponsoring it), it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to police its provisions and stop you or I from tapping into these casinos from the privacy of our homes. I must, however, caution you that if you live in any state which proscribes gambling on the Internet, I urge you not to do so.

    There is much controversy and differences of opinion on the legality issue, but based on my research, I believe that Internet casinos are here to stay regardless of laws passed by the States or Federal Government. They have found their niche in the gambling industry, they are making money and they are riding a wave of gambling growth which began in 1987 when the Federal Government made it legal for Indian Nations to open casinos. A few of these Internet Casinos are even publicly held companies listed on the NASDAQ (see for a full list including those delisted). For example, the stock of Boss Media, an Internet Portal for a number of online casinos and who owns the nifty domain name, has soared almost 700 percent since its listing in mid-1999 to around $40. With all of these facts taken into account, I have reached the conclusion that these casinos are viable -- they are here to stay and that we need to assess them for play like we do any land-based casino.

    Issue 2: Honesty

    The honesty issue concerns whether or not you can get your money back promptly any time you request it from one of these outfits. From my initial study of the Internet Casino Industry, I have reached the conclusion that most casinos are honest. The key word here is "most." If you decide to risk money, you need to know about the one at which you are considering play. If you send money to them via a credit card, can you get at your initial stake and any accrued winnings whenever you wish and expect a prompt return of the money requested? To get an answer to this question you need to check the ratings of the casino you intend to visit. You can find these ratings at various Web Sites I'll get to later in this article.

    An internationally known gaming author, player, and instructor, Jerry is the author of five gaming books:

  • Casino Gambling
  • Blackjack - A Winner's Handbook
  • Sports Betting - A Winner's Handbook
  • Blackjack's Winning Formula
  • Casino Gambler's Winning Edge.

    The two most popular are Casino Gambling and Blackjack: A Winner?s Handbook. Either can be purchased at Amazon by clicking the links below, or at Jerry?s Web Site:

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