Online gambling is set to reach a 10% world wide gambling market share. The latest phenomenon of online gambling has become a $15 billion industry, mostly due to the growing popularity of sports and online poker.
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Online gambling companies are making big dollars from bets taken on professional sports such as basketball, baseball and football. This industry is expected to continue growing with rising interest in online gambling games such as poker and blackjack.
Some overseas online gambling companies, operating several sites in various languages are fast growing in value, comparing with some of the better-known major American land-based casinos. One Online gambling site is worth almost $2.5 billion more than Harrah’s, the world’s largest casino company, with revenues expected to rise sharply by the end of the decade.
The online gambling industry is creating a lot of new multi-millionaires and the owners of online gambling companies are even beginning to be listed amongst the world’s billionaires in Forbes Magazine.
It has been projected that online gamblers will place a massive $4.7 billion in bets on sports this year, and the online poker business is growing rapidly, from $400 million in bets worldwide 3 years ago to an estimated $4 billion by the end of 2006.
Other online gambling games are getting more popular as well, such as online craps, blackjack, roulette and even bingo is bringing in 100’s of millions of dollars.
Over 60% of all online gambling bets are placed in the US, despite the fact that most forms of online gambling are illegal. Conservative religious groups and politicians have been working to legislate against online gambling since its early beginnings in the 1990s.
Their main focus is to update a 45-year-old law that governs online gambling, but was originally created to control illegal sports betting over the phone and says nothing about poker or any of the other online gambling games played on the internet.
However, online gambling supporters argue that the government could earn massive gains from taxes on gambling, if online gambling would be made legal, and heavily regulated. Some online gambling operators reportedly said the US economy would be gaining an instant $1 billion boost from the legalisation of online gambling.
Advocates of the legalisation of online gambling are looking to a similar model as that recently put in place buy the UK government, where online gambling is legalized, but heavily regulated. Operators in the UK are required to utilise specially-developed software to ensure that all users are of legal age, as well as recording all best and placing strict limits on the amount that any individual can bet at once.
All operations in the UK are routinely audited for fraud and other illegal activity and such regulations exist in over 80 countries around the world.
Currently there are thousands of online gambling sites existing outside the US, and the government does not have the jurisdiction to shut down offshore operators or the resources to crack-down on all the individual gamblers. Still, the Department of Justice has been awarded settlements reaching into the millions of dollars from firms that process payments for online gambling.