Experience Safe and Fun Online Gambling

Newcomers to the online gambling world usually start their gaming careers with many questions. Which gambling games can I find online? How do I open an account and how will I receive my winnings? These are important points to consider when you’re setting yourself up for gambling online. However, one question seems to take precedence with most players and that is how one finds the safest online casinos to play at.

The internet gambling industry was first developed in the late 1990′s. Because it was a new market, there were few regulatory bodies or organizations that protected players from unscrupulous gambling firms. As a result, many fly by night gaming sites were established. These offered little security or guarantee that players could expect to receive their winnings in a timely and professional manner. Unfortunately, some internet gaming fans lost money at these sites.

However, thanks to the rapid development of the industry and the demand for safe and secure gaming, it is far more difficult to play at a questionable site today than it is to play at a reputable one. Most internet casino firms pride themselves on their professionalism and work hard to provide a stress-free environment for their valued customers.

So how do you know you’re playing at a casino online that is 100 percent safe, secure and trustworthy? The first thing to do is ensure the casino is licensed. Before you create an account to sign for online casino games, check the site’s licensing information. This should be prominently displayed on its website. You will find that some licenses are awarded by governments, such as the British Government and the Government of Antigua. Other licenses are from recognized state authorities such as the Kahnawake Gambling Commission.

You can also make sure you give yourself the best possible protection by only playing at sites that are eCOGRA members. eCOGRA is the online gaming industry’s top watchdog organization and upholds the values of fair play, security and honesty that its member sites are associated with. Check your online casino to see if it sports the eCOGRA Seal of Approval. If your casino has this seal, you can rest assured you’re in good hands. To become a member, online casino firms must meet strict criteria set out by eCOGRA and submit to regular third party auditing to ensure fairness.

eCOGRA also offers a player dispute service, so you can be assured of its professional support if any issues arise at your site. A liaison service will listen to your issues and work to resolve them with your online casino. eCOGRA packs a powerful punch in the industry and resolves most of the disputes it involves itself with. This offers valuable peace of mind to many online casino players, especially if you’re new and about to try online gambling for the first time.

So if your site is fully licensed and an eCOGRA member, you’re ready to get started. Simply download your online casino software and get ready for a fun, secure and worry-free gaming experience.

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How Internet Gambling Became a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Online wagering only began in the 1990s, but it didn’t take long for it to become a multi-million dollar business. The catalyst for the explosion in online gaming came in 1994, when the government of Antigua Barbuda, an island nation in the Caribbean, passed a law allowing online casinos to operate from their country.

Naturally, many people saw this as a huge opportunity, and two of them, Andrew and Mark Rivkin, formed a company called Cryptologic to write software enabling safe handling of finances in online gambling with till-then unequalled encryption practices. Another big company was formed in 1994 too: Microgaming.

Cryptologic and Microgaming were the two leading companies as afar as gaming technology. Cryptologic was first to make a fully operational gaming platform with electronic money account management. By the end of 1996, InterCasino was up and operational on the web – one of the very first online casinos. It wasn’t long before online casinos were a multi-million dollar industry. Not long after that it stepped up to being a multi-billion dollar industry.

In 1997, Microgaming released Cash Splash, the first online progressive slots game. At this time, players from the US were a large chunk of the online betting population, and this fact drew the attention of Senator John Kyl (R-AZ), who started drafting various legislative bills to stop people from gambling online. The first of these, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, did not pass, and Americans continued their love affair with online
betting.

Other world players coming on board the internet casino train during the late 1990s included Argentina, and UK territories Gibralter and Isle of Man, which began online sports betting sites. By 2001, the British Channel Islands legalized online betting, and later that year, there was a push to legalize internet wagering in the UK as a whole.

In 2005, the UK Gambling Act was approved, and it was a boon for the internet casino industry. The law created the UK Gambling Commission to oversee all enforcement of regulations in licensing online gaming sites, preventing underage gambling and ensuring software fairness accreditation and reporting of monthly payout percentages. The Commission also investigates and prosecutes illegal gambling and basically is a very comprehensive online wagering regulatory agency. The UK’s internet wagering oversight is now considered a model for other countries that want to regulate online gambling.

In October 2006, US legislators tried to legislate an end to betting online by American citizens with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), attached the bill to a “must-pass” bill on Port Security aimed at combating global terrorism, claiming that online wagering proceeds were used by offshore companies to fund terrorism. But just before enforcement of this act was to go into place, new legislation was written allowing US citizens to participate in online gaming. Though it has passed from committee, there is no guess as to when or if it will be passed by the House and Senate. That means that currently, US online gamblers exist in a gray area of the law, though public sentiment is growing behind full legalization of online gambling in the US.

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Poker and Gambling Spend – UK

Gambling spend per household in the UK is on the up, particularly in the online sector and more so with online poker. Since the recent launch of Sky Poker TV channels, coupled with the list of high profile names now playing the game, the profile of the poker game itself has been raised along with expenditure. Online gambling has increased in general, and with the influx of online poker sites, poker gambling has become part of many people’s lifestyles, and indeed many people currently earn their living playing poker all year around.

Currently there are 4 poker channels that can be viewed by UK Sky subscribers and over 200 poker sites that can be played around the globe, making online gambling a form of entertainment and recreation that ranks alongside the cinema and bowling in terms of visits.

People in the UK love to gamble. The UK has one of the highest populations with the propensity to gamble (some 62%) only just behind Australia and Sweden, though surprisingly slightly less per population than the US where only 62% of the population gamble.

The Gambling Commission which was set up in 2005 following the UK Gambling Act of that year (the most significant change in gambling law in over 50 years) reports that the UK also has one of the biggest gambling spend per capita of any other country in Europe. A figure of £1266 per capita, collectively £76 billion a year, and 7.7% of GDP has been quoted in some press releases, compared to that of £600 per capita in 2004.

So of the 33 million people in the UK that gamble, what types of gambling are people spending their money on and where does poker fit in that list.

Well let us look first at the forms of gambling that are considered. You have betting on sports like dog racing and horse racing. You also have bingo, national lotteries, pools and scratch cards. There is also casino gambling and slot machine gambling, and then you have online gambling

The National lottery is the most popular form of gambling in the UK with 65% of the population buying lottery tickets. The next most popular is scratch cards which 22% of UK residents buy each week. Slot machine gambling comes in next with 14%, followed by horse/dog racing 13%, and pools, 9%.

It may come as a surprise that still only 3% of the population actually gamble online in online casinos or poker rooms. However, this just proves that there is still room for growth in the UK market. In general more men than women gamble online, except in the bingo sector where the percentage is 70% female to 30% male.

How much is being spent?

Average figures, provided by the Gambling Commission, show around £3.80 per household is spent each week on the National Lottery and some £4.00 per week spent on pools, scratch cards and other lotteries. £7.20 each week is spent on bingo, £5.00 for sports betting, and approximately £20 in land-based casinos. Approximately £10 per week is spent on online gambling and £5.00 on slot machines.

It is clear the online gambling is one of the major gambling expenditures in the UK. It is not clear how much is actually spent on online Poker, but considering poker sites makes up 75% of online gambling visits the amount is likely to be around £7.00 per household.

What is clear is that people love playing poker and it is not only men who have taken up this pastime. High profile female figures have begun to enjoy poker and the BBC reported one woman helping to support her family by playing poker at home.

With changes to the UK Gambling Act coming into force in September 2007, the government are suggesting that the Act will help reduce people propensity to gamble and will also protect children and problems gamblers. I will be a long time before proof of this is seen, but one thing is for sure, the profits raked in by the government on gambling taxes are set to grow alongside people’s desire to play their favourite game of online poker.

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