Gambling isn’t about winning, it’s about playing – and when there’s an immense opportunity to play, there’s undoubtedly a colossal industry in the making. This is precisely the notion that the internet gambling business thrives on; after all, a little accessibility can work wonders on any business. But the online gambling industry has gained more than a little popularity over the last decade, growing into $14.5 billion market. What’s more, industry revenues are anticipated to climb to a whopping $25 billion by the year 2010 – nearly half of which is foreseen to come from US players, with Japan and China, who gamble twice as much as they shop online, trailing close behind. And the lingering threat of anti-gambling laws certainly isn’t doing much to slow the industry’s astounding speed of success.
But the proven growth of the internet gambling industry should not come as a surprise to anyone. Gambling, on its own, is of a nature that picks its winners and losers at random. Whether someone is an avid gambler or a first-time player, he or she has the opportunity to strike it big – and this ‘gamble’ is undeniably just as much a part of the appeal as the potential reward. But moreover, a better means of accessibility into the realm of an already booming business denotes inevitable expansion – and at an astonishing pace. This is just the idea behind internet gambling. No matter where in the world a person is, an internet connection paired with that one vital ingredient – money – will allow that person to place a bet. Even people who have never thought of setting foot in a casino now have the ability to venture into one at their own pace. And with over 2,000 gambling sites, there’s certainly no shortage of choice.
But the industry hasn’t stopped at ‘traditional’ modes of gambling either. With such an incredible client backing, it currently has a bit of room to make things more ‘interesting’. It is, for example, straying from casino style and sports themed betting to wagering on topics within the entertainment industry. Will your favorite celebrities survive their relationships? Who will win at the Oscars? Place your bets! It’s like taking a trip to Las Vegas – except you don’t have to travel, there are no bright, blinding lights, and the gambling never really has to end.
A current concern regarding the industry has to do with a greater degree of addiction that is linked to online gambling. This is simply a result of Internet gambling sites providing a higher level of access to players than the original, or ‘real’, casino. But when an alarming fifty percent of the gambling industry’s profits come from five percent of the population, one begins to wonder what the statistics will stagger to with the rise of internet gambling. However, certain online gambling sites, such as Unibet, are also taking the approach of promoting responsible online gambling. If this approach becomes a norm, it could help online gambling from spinning out of control.
Yet the possibility that online gamblers will have spending addictions is just the reason they’re seen as a money making ‘opportunity’ for many companies on the Internet. People willing to bet their money online for a potential loss are simply more likely to shop online as well. Gamblers are more apt than non-gamblers to click on ads, sign up for marketing posts, and to ultimately spend their money online. Thus, the gambler is undoubtedly a big target in the marketing world.
So with an evident link between Internet gamblers and online market success, it’s no wonder that many are placing their bets on the future of the online gambling industry. And with Internet gambling paving the way for a larger ‘pool’ of players within the gambling world, it doesn’t seem that the business will run out of luck any time soon.
By Andrew Regan
Andrew Regan is an online journalist who enjoys socialising at his local Edinburgh rugby club.