Since the very early days of the internet there has been one area of business which has shone brighter than any other, online gambling, but why is it so popular? What is the attraction? Why do the authorities seem determined to curb the growth of the sector?
While the internet has affected many parts of industry, it is the online gambling arena which seems to have benefitted from a massive increase in popularity with games such as poker leading the way. It seems that the chance to play poker, bet on the horses and gamble in general from the comfort of your own home has attracted literally millions of people worldwide.
There are some who argue that the system may be open to abuse and those with an addictive nature may have problems, but there is no other industry in the world which is as heavily regulated as gambling. The industry has put together an array of help organisations, added a number of credit limiting systems and done as much as they can to reduce any increase in problem gambling. So why are the authorities seemingly determined to crush the industry?
On the surface the array of authorities around the world who seem determined to stall the growth of gambling do so under the banner of helping those who may have problems, however this is not always the case. In the US in particular, tax income from the vast array of casino complexes on the ground has given many state budgets a massive boost. Many believe that the threat which the online industry poses to this ever increasing tax fall is what ultimately prompted the US government to ban online gambling. This is a stance which has been repeated by other governments around the world—with the UK one of the notable exceptions.
There are many who are convinced that once an agreement can be reached between the US authorities and the online gambling companies, with regards to the payment of tax, the US government are more than likely to lift their ban. However, while the parties have been in talks for some time behind the scenes no agreement looks imminent.
While the popularity of the internet continues to grow and grow we are seeing more concerns about online safety and issues of fraud. Online gambling is an area of business which handles literally hundreds of millions of dollars on a daily basis, and one which seems to be upper most in the minds of many. Is it safe to gamble online? Are the systems fair?
If you sit back and consider the headlines over the last few years with regards to internet fraud and security issues, you will do very well to find even one suspected or proven case of fraud involving a casino / online gambling website. It is unfortunate that the online gambling industry seems to get dragged into situations which do not really involve this most active of business sectors. As we have covered on this blog in the past, the online gambling industry (and offline for that matter) is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. Each and every country has a gambling board of control, regulators and ever eager government officials often waiting for the first sign of trouble.
As far as actually gambling online, whether this is on the football, horses or in the online casino, again there are ever stricter regulations to cover what kind of income the house can take and a legal necessity for openness with regards to fees, payments, security, etc. Every single issue is covered in detail on each and every online gaming site which you will ever come across. It is therefore safe to say that your money is safe when gambling online and you know that you are actually playing on a level playing field, and the table is not tilted in any one parties favour.
While the online revolution has stalled temporarily after the actions of the US authorities, there is hope that perhaps the largest gambling market in the world will open up for business in the not too distant future.
As the EU Commission continue their fight with the US government with regards to the online gambling ban in the States a new problem has emerged with the German authorities taking a similar approach. The German government have banned online gambling, with the exception of horse racing and other state run monopolies, which has effectively locked down the German online gambling market.
While clearly in breach of a number of EU regulations the Competition Commission are looking at reaching an amicable solution which will not involve legal action. It is ironic that while fighting the US for access to their online gambling markets the EU has been dealt such a bitter blow by one of their own members. So does this weaken the case against the US, who may well argue they do not have access to the whole of the European market?
The US are bound to bring up this matter the next time formal discussions are instigated and to be honest what viable response would the EU be able to offer? The problem with the whole issue of online gambling is the millions of dollars which is at stake, and the potential for significant further growth in the future. Each and every government around the world seem to feel that they are missing out on massive income as many of these companies are registered in offshore tax havens. So what will happen longer term?
At some stage it seems that the industry and the authorities will come to some kind of formal agreement probably involving some kind of “passport” system whereby only approved companies can trade in various parts of the world. Exactly how this would be administered and monitored is still unclear but this situation cannot drag on forever.
While the term “gambling” is a fairly ambiguous term, it is actually defined as “wagering either money or something of material value, on an event of which the outcome is uncertain”. So in effect it can cover any event where the outcome is in any way, shape or form, uncertain. Here below we list some of the strangest bets which have ever been “placed”.
Man Bets Wife In Card Game
While this is probably thought of as one of those “old wives” tales from many years ago, it did actually happen in Russia. A Poker player ran out of money and in the heat of the moment he bet his wife on the turn of the cards and as you might have guessed he lost. When his opponent tried to collect his “winnings” the players wife divorced him, went to live with the victor and married him a short time later. They now live happily ever after.
Man Bets A Boob Job
While this must be perhaps one of the strangest bets ever heard of, it seems to have happened in a US casino, although the exact date seems to be a little shrouded in mystery. One Poker player seems to have been down on his luck, no money in the pot, but left with what he thought was a good hand. Desperate to take on his opponents and put himself back in play, he bet that if he lost HE would get a boob job. Well it seems that he lost, and he had his very own set of man breasts very soon after!
There are literally hundreds if not thousands of examples of people getting carried away in the heat of the moment when gambling. What seems to be a common factor in these crazy bets is that they must see them through - even though gambling debts are not legally enforceable. Strange but true - now you know why your bookmaker makes you pay up front!
As more and more people gamble online it is become easier and easier to see a history of your gambling activities, how much you put in, how much you took out and how much you won or lost. How is your book looking for 2007? Was it a good year? Did you turn it around after a bad start? Or have you been a winner all the way through?
As we knock on the door of 2007 many people are possibly a little afraid to see exactly what they have won or lost over the last 12 months, but how can you ever learn if you don’t know how your have performed? You might even give yourself a surprise and find that you are up over the 12 months!
As you get caught up in the heat of the moment it is very difficult to keep track of what has come in and what has gone out of your “gambling” account. If like the rest of us you only remember your winners and forget your losers then things may not be too rosy in the garden. However, one thing is for sure, if you do look back through your gambles for the years - and for some people this may be many - you will see periods, sports and particular sized bets where you did better than average.
It is possible to use this information to pin point your strengths and ensure that you use them in 2008. Maybe you lose your bottle when you have a big bet? Maybe you had better keep away from football? Or maybe horse racing is your game, but on the each way field?
It is vital that you use your historic records to highlight areas which you should concentrate on and areas which you should avoid. Gambling is all about running your winners and binning the losers, but you need to find out which is which.
Over the last couple of years we have seen some major issues in the world of Cricket from the death of Bob Woolmer under suspicious circumstances at the cricket world cup to the recent infighting during the ongoing India / Australia Test series. So has cricket become more of a political event than sport?
If the truth be known there have always been an array of simmering rivalries in the game of cricket but the competition between teams has reached fever pitch of late. We have seen various on field bust ups, deliberate flouting of the basic rules of cricket and more and more political back biting and pressure being applied to the Cricketing Authorities. So is it time to draw a line under the rivalries and start again?
It would be perfect if the cricket teams and management teams could actually get back to playing the game rather than trying to influence different areas for their own means. During the recent racism row regarding the Indian and Australian teams we saw decisions over ruled, bans lifted and pressure exerted to ensure that certain umpires were not able to do their jobs properly. All this in the midst of what is a very finely balanced and interesting Test match series.
While the Australian / Indian fallout is only the latest in a long line of disagreements in the sport, it is one which has led to riots in the streets, calls of unfair decision making and even called into question the impartiality of cricket umpires - something which would never have even been contemplated only ten years ago. So why are things changing so quickly?
While the rivalries have always been there we are probably looking at the pressure of increased sponsorship, gambling and prize money in the sport. The fight for a larger share of the money pie seems to be behind much of the disputes. Surely we can go back to the days when cricket was a gentleman’s sport?
Over the last couple of weeks millions of UK viewers have been glued to the UK Dart Championships which have been thrown up a number of major surprises - not least the fall of Phil “The Power” Taylor. So is darts actually set to make a comeback or is this just a flash in the pan?
For those of you who followed darts some 10 to 15 years ago, the darts arena of today may have many of the same old characters but there is now a sense of razzmatazz. Flashing lights, dancing girls and each player seems to have their own signature tune to which they enter the arena. There has also been a massive increase in gambling on darts, with many looking for that fresh young player to hit the headlines and take the glory.
The truth is that while darts has never been more popular than it is today, it has also always been a very popular sport amongst what was until now a niche market. Players are now fitter and in better shape than ever before, diets are even now a main part of a dart player’s life—a massive change for the chain smoking, beer drinking players of yesteryear.
This new push into the limelight has opened up a whole new market for the bookmakers, and the fact that SKY TV have taken the decision to screen matches live now offers many gamblers the chance to gamble “in play”. Whether darts will actually ever reach the heights of say football or cricket is highly unlikely to say the least, but the popularity of the sport is growing worldwide, and as the prize money continues to increase it seems that this is set to grow still further.
As we all know, the gambling industry are never backwards in coming forwards when there is a new area for them to build on!
While the main reason for gambling is to try and beat the odds, for many people gambling is more than just a sport, it can often be a social event. We have seen a mass of syndicates appear, taking in areas such as horse racing, football and even bingo to name a small selection. So why has gambling become such a socially acceptable event after years in the wilderness?
As the number of sports covered has grown and grown we have seen the customer base for bookies, casinos and other gambling organisation mushroom. While competition is still difficult for the companies involved, the social aspect of the sport has also grown, with very much an us and them attitude amongst fellow gamblers looking to either get “one over” on the bookies or engage in some playful banter playing their friends and colleagues. But is it always friendly?
Like an event where money and pride are at stake there can often be a little friction and things can often get quite heated, but surely this is all part of the thrill? Pushing you opponent to the edge, taking the bookmakers to the cleaners, or all doing you home work and finding a mis-priced outside bet which comes home. Many people work best when there is something at stake, whether this is £1 or £1,000, it is very often the pride factor which can kick in.
gambling is one of the only sports in the world which you can play online 24 hours a day 7 days a week, where you can find your favourite sport “in-play” anywhere around the world, and where you can pit your wits against man and machine. However, as they say “pride comes before a fall”, so do not let your pride get the better of you and learn to realise when you are beat - leaving something for the next time!
Each day in the US there are at least 4 (possibly up to 8 or more) different race meetings, the majority of which are screened live on satellite TV, but many are now asking whether the US market is becoming saturated and a little difficult to forecast. Is the market being over cooked? Will this affect turnover in the US?
There is no doubt that the number of US race track meetings is massive compared to anywhere in the world. However, you need to appreciate that the US is a massive place compared to most other countries in the world, which may explain the mass of racing available on TV. This does not necessarily mean that the market cannot become over saturated and perhaps start to turn off gamblers, so what keeps them coming back?
Unfortunately for the professional (or amateur) gambler, the US market is very very difficult to forecast with many odds on favourites coming under pressure on what can be very demanding and tight dirt or grass tracks. Many people tend to go with the jockeys rather than the horses, with the main players in the US often getting the choice of a number of horses in each race they are involved. In order to appreciate this you need to consider the use of certain factors such as blinkers, and other aids, which can drastically improve a horse’s chances.
The US is one market where you need to monitor the odds just before the off to see where the professional money is going. Sometimes it may be too late to take advantage if you are not quick enough, but it is the often massive variation in the performance of the horses which keeps the gamblers coming back, and should do for some time to come. There is probably more racing that a gambler would be comfortable with, but the market is bigger and if you do your homework and watch the market you can actually pull out some interesting gambling odds.
The world of gambling has thrown up some weird and wonderful bets over the years from fathers betting that their sons will play football for England (Chris Kirkland’s father is rumoured to have collected on a bet that his son would play for England) to confirmation that there is life on the moon. There are many bookmakers who will take a gamble on just about anything, but what is the strangest bet you have made?
We thought it might be interesting to hear about those betting slips you have hidden away in the back of your wallet, the ones which everyone said would never happen, the ones they laughed at when you went to place them.
Also, what is the strangest bet which you have ever won with, was it man landing on the moon, was it all four winners of the English Football League or was it the time when reserve participants Demark own the European Championships after Yugoslavia were thrown out?
To give you a flavour of some of the great gambles which have come in check the story below :-
The 2001 Grand National was mired in controversy as the rain sodden course would normally have been deemed dangerous, but this was the National with hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide - they could not afford to call it off. As the rain continued to fall a number of savvy punters hooked up with Red Marauder, an 11 year old which would normally have no chance - its record was terrible but the rumour was that it liked rain.
On the morning of the event Blue Square were caught short offering odds of 66/1 on the horse to win, odds which had crashed to 33/1 just before the off. As the weather took its toll on the race there were only two horses left standing at the end and guess who came in to win the biggest horse racing prize of all - yes, Red Marauder, another piece of Grand National history.
Let us hear about gambling bets you have running and bets which you won with…