Online / Internet Gambling
"Gambling" has many different meanings depending on the cultural and historical context in which it is used. Usually in western society, it has an economic definition, referring to "wagering money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money or material goods". Typically the outcome of the wager is evident within a short period of time.
The casino, racetrack, or online gambling games are an exciting place to visit. Players visit them for a variety of different reasons. Some people take the time to learn the skills needed to play the games with the primary goal of winning money. Most players visit the casino purely for the entertainment value. Playing the games is an enjoyable experience and the dreams of winning money adds to the enthusiasum. Some players enjoy the adrenaline rush and experience a high that accompanies the thrill when they risk their money on the games. For some this feeling can be seductive and alluring and a minority of players succumb to the darker side of gambling.
When the thrill of the game outweighs everything else, the player has crossed over the line from player to addict. Gambling, like all addictions can be devastating for the person and their family.
Traditional (or "brick and mortar", B&M) venues for playing poker, such as casinos and poker rooms, may be intimidating for novice players and are located in geographically disparate locations. Brick and mortar casinos are also reluctant to promote poker because it is difficult for them to profit from it. Though the rake, or time charge, of traditional casinos is often high, the opportunity costs of running a poker room are even higher. Brick and mortar casinos often make much more money by removing poker rooms and adding more slot machines.
Online venues, by contrast, are dramatically cheaper because they have much smaller overhead costs. For example, adding another table does not take up valuable space like it would for a brick and mortar casino. Online poker rooms tend to be viewed as more player-friendly. For example, the software may prompt the player when it is his or her turn to act. Online poker rooms also allow the players to play for low stakes (as low as 1¢) and often offer poker freerolls (where there is no entry fee), attracting beginners.
Online venues may be more vulnerable to certain types of fraud, especially collusion between players. However, they also have collusion detection abilities that do not exist in brick and mortar casinos. For example, online poker room security employees can look at the "hand history" of the cards previously played by any player on the site, making patterns of behavior easier to detect than in a casino where colluding players can simply fold their hands without anyone ever knowing the strength of their holding. Online poker rooms also check players' IP addresses in order to prevent players at the same household or at known open proxy servers from playing on the same tables.
The major online poker sites offer varying features to entice new players. One common feature is to offer tournaments called satellites by which the winners gain entry to real-life poker tournaments. It was through one such tournament on PokerStars that Chris Moneymaker won his entry to the 2003 World Series of Poker. He went on to win the main event causing shock in the poker world. The 2004 World Series featured triple the number of players over the 2003 turnout. At least four players in the WSOP final table won their entry through an online cardroom. Like Moneymaker, 2004 winner Greg "Fossilman" Raymer also won his entry at the PokerStars online cardroom.
In October 2004, Sportingbet Plc, at the time the world's largest publicly traded online gaming company (SBT.L), announced the acquisition of ParadisePoker.com, one of the online poker industry's first and largest cardrooms. The $340 million dollar acquisition marked the first time an online cardroom was owned by a public company. Since then, several other cardroom parent companies have gone public.
In June 2005, PartyGaming, the parent company of the largest online cardroom, PartyPoker, went public on the London Stock Exchange, achieving an initial public offering market value in excess of $8 billion dollars. At the time of the IPO, ninety-two percent of Party Gaming's income came from poker operations.
In early 2006, PartyGaming moved to acquire EmpirePoker.com from Empire Online. UltimateBet's parent company also listed on the London Stock Exchange and other poker rooms such as PokerStars & Poker.com are rumored to be exploring initial public offerings.
While we encourage everyone to enjoy themselves, please be cautious to ensure you stay with safe boundaries that you are comfortable with.
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