Although this site deals primarily with issues relating to live card games, it would be impossible to ignore the fact that the recent advances in technology, at the end of the 20th century, brought a entirely new venue for gamblers and card payers. This new venue is the virtual world of online gambling.
Online casinos vary in appearance and in the way the games are conducted. Most of the online gambling sites are actually junk sites with banner farms, a lot of annoying pop-ups and obnoxious ads. Online casinos may still be virtual in a sense that there are not actual cards, tables, dice dealers, or even a gaming floor, but they are still real in a sense that millions of suckers worldwide blow their real cash on nothing more than a wet dream. It's amazing to think that anyone in the right state of mind would ever even consider placing a wager against a totally unregulated online casino, playing against their own software on their own servers, without any transparency whatsoever, but amazingly enough, thousands of people worldwide still do it. I guess the world is really in no danger to have a shortage of suckers, any time soon.
Before we start discussing specific issues pertaining to online gambling sites, we need to list different types of gambling sites into appropriate categories. We can divide them into five basic categories: online casinos, online poker sites, online sportsbooks, online bingo, and mobile gambling.
Online casinos, a.k.a. virtual casinos or internet casinos, are online versions of traditional land-based casinos, such as Spin Palace Casino mentioned above. Online casinos enable gamblers to play and wager against the house, through the Internet, on various casino games, such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette, craps, slots, keno and more. Just like land-based casino, online casinos also make a profit due to the fact that the odds are in their favor.
Due to the fact that online casinos have lower operating costs, compared to land-based casinos, they generally offer odds and payback percentages that are slightly higher than those of average land-based casinos. Assuming that the online casino is using an appropriately programmed Random Number Generator [RNG], table games like blackjack have an established house edge.
Reliability and trust issues are commonplace and often questioned. Many online casinos lease or purchase their software from well-known companies like Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, and CryptoLogic Inc in an attempt to piggyback their reputation on the software manufacturer's credibility. These software companies use Random Number Generators [RNG's] to ensure that the numbers, cards or dice appear as randomly as they would appear in any land-based casino.
Online casinos can further be divided into three groups, based on the type of interface used: web-based casinos, download-based casinos, and more recently live casinos. It should also be noted that some online casinos offer multiple interfaces.
◊ Web-based online casinos:
Web-based online casinos are web sites where users may play casino games without downloading any software to their personal computers. Games are mainly represented through the browser plug-ins, such as Flash, Shockwave, or Java and require browser support for these plug-ins Also, sufficient bandwidth is required since all graphics, sounds and animations are loaded through the internet connection, via the plug-in. Some online casinos also have also been known to offer game play through a plain HTML interface.
◊ Download-based online casinos:
Download-based online casinos require the download of the software client to enable to user to play and wager on the casino games offered. The online casino software connects to the casino service provider and handles contact without any browser support. Download-based online casinos generally run faster than web-based online casinos since the graphics and sound programs are located within the software itself. On the other hand, the initial download and installation of a download-based online casino client does take time. As with any download from the Internet, users should take precaution and use their best judgment, and download software only from reputable companies.
◊ Live-based casinos:
Live-based casino gaming allows web players to interact with games played in a real world casino environment. Online players can see, hear, and interact with live dealers at tables in casino studios worldwide.
Online poker sites are virtual cardrooms where players play poker. They are different from online casinos in a way that players play against each other, rather than against the house, with the card room making its money through the rake and/or through tournament fees. Online poker sites have played a significant role in a dramatic increase of the number of poker players worldwide. In 2005 alone, revenues from online poker were estimated at $200,000,000 per month.
Online sportsbooks offer fixed-odds gambling, over the internet, on the results of sporting events. Sports betting is the general term for predicting sports results by making a wager on the future outcome. Perhaps more so than other forms of gambling, the legality and general acceptance of sports betting varies from nation to nation. In North America, sports betting is generally forbidden except when associated with horse racing, known as Off Track Betting [OTB] (though a few legal sportsbooks do exist in Nevada). In many European countries, bookmaking (the profession of accepting sports wagers) is highly regulated, but not criminalized.
Proponents of legalized sports betting generally regard it as a hobby for sports fans, saying that it increases their interest in particular sporting events, thus benefiting the leagues, teams and players they bet on through higher attendances and TV audiences. Opponents fear that, over and above the general ramifications of gambling, it threatens the integrity of sporting events, the history of which includes numerous attempts by sports gamblers to fix matches.
Mobile gambling refers to gambling done on a remote wireless device, such as, mobile phones, wireless tablet PC's and other mid-level networked commuting devices. Some online casinos and online poker cardrooms offer mobile options.
Mobile gambling requires a data connection to operate and in most cases this data layer is provided by the telecom provider for the region or country. While still relatively underdeveloped, analysts place the value of the market space at $20 billion by 2010.
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